Everyone loves an adventure, and despite the fact that you don’t own a compass or cannot read a map, you don’t fool me. I just know, that deep down, you are a Wild Thornberry at heart.
So tell me, Dora Explorer/Jack Sparrow/(insert any other amazing adventurer), what adventure did you experience today, without even knowing it?
Did you drive through a random town and find the best Vanilla Slice? Or, did you take a different route during your morning run?
Did you see a flock of birds in perfect sync as you drove to work?
Did you simply get out of bed and brave the long haul to the fridge for breakfast, to find left-over cake?
Am I opening your mind to a new perception of exploration, and have you considered that this year, if you choose to look at it this way, is in fact, a 52-week long adventure.
If I told you that this article, this academic week, this semester, this year, your entire degree, was one epic journey, I wonder then, if you would bring your trail mix, hiking boots, excitement and optimism. They always fill your backpack on every other escapade, why not this one? (I will note here, that trail mix is a perfectly suitable and extremely delicious study snack. Get on it!)
No doubt the Jaffys of my audience are certainly walking our halls with the anticipation and enthusiasm of a new puppy who has been in the laundry all night, and I’m here to tell you folks, that (well firstly if you don’t know what a Jaffy is, then you most certainly are one, so embrace it) yes, your time at University will be, one of the: biggest, most draining, exciting, memory-fuelled, life-experiencing, stressful, most incredible adventures you may ever have the pleasure of knowing.
I am here to explain that no matter how many different reference systems you need to use, and how many times you are left without a peaceful working space at Matheson, I promise you, you will survive.
Not just that, you will flourish.
You will look back with glistening eyes and a fond smile as you recall the awkwardness of your first tutorial discussions, and the sleepless nights you endured when all your assignments were due in the same week. You will laugh as you recite the memories of your first camp, and slightly quiver at the thought of how many Messy Pots you single-handedly consumed purely, because they were so cheap, and you were poor. You will remember getting lost, then lost again, spending way too much money on campus food, then finally discovering ‘Wholefoods’ and commencing your hippie life-phase.
You’re going to sit in lectures discussing the politics of random European countries because you simply want to learn how to speak a sexy language, and you will read more than you have in your entire life. You will stay up late and party later, discover new words and embrace new perspectives. You are going to meet the people who will change your world and stumble upon the opportunities, which alter your journey through life.
Best of all, you will be a survivor. You will become the mentor, big sister, cousin, friend-of-a-friend, all-knowing deity who has done it all, and lived to tell the tale with an ecstatic tone. An individual who swears their University experience was nothing short of an adventure filled journey, comprised with lessons far greater than that which was examined in the final weeks of semester.
And in your efforts to convince your minion of why they just HAVE to go to Uni., you will understand that articulating your experience isn’t something eloquently imparted with words. You will understand that surviving isn’t something you can describe, it is an odyssey you experience, a pilgrimage that will test, break, challenge and repair you. It is a deed that shatters grandma’s best vase, and makes something profoundly more beautiful and precious, with what is left.
With this audacious honour, I welcome you to Monash 2014, and promise that if you are willing to let this year and your time here with us, consume you, to let it become an adventure, you will fulfill it the way it is meant to be fulfilled, and you will chime to the bell I am ringing.
So don’t be afraid. Embrace the learning you are fortunate to enjoy, and mix with those that are willing to explain why what you think, and believe is wrong. Be open to shifting your perspective, being curiously observant of new life views, and appreciative of the diversity with which you are submersed.
Because you will survive. And you will never be the same.
This is a safe ride, you have already bought the ticket and like the attendant, I have effectively buckled you in and checked your height. All you have to do now is throw your hands up in the air, tilt your head back and relish those butterflies.
The adventure awaits.