Monday, 27 May 2013

Rest Relax Recover

This blog will not be happening on a train, but instead will be a tribute to those currently in the middle of assessment. For those of you who read Extreme Exams you will understand the pressure that students are put under to complete assessment and to make sure they do a good job. It's a battle against the clock with the deadlines always looming. Some people I know would get 3 hours sleep in 36 hours purely to finish off a film assignment, others not getting to sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning for a week to get an essay written or an assignment finished. Up until Monday this was also me, my eyes were so red from the lack of sleep my dad asked me if I was on drugs. I wasn't, the redness was due to staring at a computer screen until 2 in the morning, nothing else. It's this time of year which coffee sales go through the roof and students become dangerously close to using all of their Internet downloads. 
As I have said, this was me until last Monday. This is the day I crashed. I had pushed my body too hard for too long and it took over. I had no classes and no assessment due until Friday, so I slept. And slept some more and a little bit more. My body shut down, and it was the best thing that could have happened. Too often people are so absorbed in their work that they forget to break. They forget to slow down and enjoy life, they forget the importance of having fun. So if you're one of these people currently undergoing assessment please don't forget to crash. Book ahead if you have to, plan a movie marathon with your friends, learn piano, read a book, do whatever it is that makes you happy and relaxed. Just remember to do it! You're body needs time to rest relax and recover. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Extreme Exams

Today I completed my first ever exam at university and it was extreme. First off we didn't learn half of the things that were on the exam, we were just expected to figure it out, and it was worth 60% of our marks! For some it was too much to bear. One poor girl broke down at the back of the room and had to leave the exam crying. For the rest of us, we pushed on answering the questions we could and promising ourselves we would come back to the ones we couldn't later. Some people filled up to 3 answer booklets others struggling to fill one. Some people gave up and left the minute they could, while others stayed, hands scribbling across the page until the very last second. I survived it, I answered all the questions and didn't break down. I feel very proud to be alive at the end of the exam and happy to see it's finally over.

Love In Life

I was on my way home after a long 12 hour day of university, sitting in what was supposed to be the quiet carriage of the train. There was a man on board who must not have read the sign as he was talking quite loudly on his phone. We could all hear the conversation, and he didn't seem to care. He was talking to his girlfriend, and everyone on board was slowly starting to get more and more frustrated with his talking. That was until the conversation took a turn for the worst. From what we could tell from the one side of the conversation, he was dumped. He didn't take it well at all and started to cry, this made a lot if people uncomfortable to have a man crying in the quiet carriage. Then out of nowhere a man stood up walked down the aisle sat next to the crying man and put an arm around his shoulder to comfort him.
This almost unbelievable act of kindness shocked me slightly, I don't think I would of had the courage to stand up and hug a complete stranger who was breaking down on the train. It showed me that even though we are living in a fast paced world where people are so caught up in their mobile devices to even acknowledge each other there are still glimpses of human compassion and kindness that restore my faith that humanity won't be turned into technological zombies but will return to a compassionate state where it's ok to cry and it's ok to comfort people in their time of need. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Book By It's Cover

I was riding on the train again (big surprise I know) when an elderly man sat next to me. There wasn't anything significant about him as he seemed very quiet and organised. His shirt was nicely ironed and he had a small briefcase with him. Once seated he opened his brief case and from the corner of my eye I noticed how organised it was - nothing was out of place. He then proceeded to take what appeared to be a small coin purse out of the brief case. Now very curious as to what this man was doing I started to pay closer attention without giving myself away. He opened the coin purse and removed a pair of neatly wrapped headphones. I was dying of curiosity; what sort of music would this man be interested in? I assumed it would be classical and wondered if you could even get classical music on an iPod? But what happened next shocked me slightly.  The elderly man switched on his iPod and started to listen to Lady Gaga. Once the music was blaring out of his ears he reached once again for his briefcase and took out a gaming magazine and spent the rest of his trip reading about World Of Warcraft. That was until the stop before his stop where we neatly packed everything away and sat quietly with briefcase in lap waiting for the train to stop.
This brief interaction with a man I have never met before and will most likely never see again made me think. We shouldn't be so quick to judge people. Sure you can only make one first impression but that's not always the most accurate impression. We have no capable way of knowing what people are hiding underneath their surface until they open up to us. Until then we can't really judge people for who they are because we don't know who they really are. 
It goes beyond people as well. We tend to close ourselves off to experiencing new foods or cultures based on appearances or smells. We don't allow ourselves to be fully immersed in anything because we make judgements without trying first. I suppose what I'm trying to get at, in the most cliché way possible, is don't judge a book by it's cover. Allow yourself to be surprised by everything life has to offer. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Elevator Etiquette

I think it's time we come back to one of my train ride adventures, well more like train rides in general. I have noticed that unless you are a group of school children people are very quiet on the train. There aren't any rules against talking on the train, nothing would happen if you did and it doesn't hurt anyone. Yet if you do start talking, whether it be for a phone call or to hit on the cute person sitting next to you, the rest of the train will stare you down until you are quiet again. In general people have found ways around talking on the train, for example reading the news paper or listening to a music device.
If we travel internationally trains get even quieter. If you compare Australia's train goers to London's or Japan's then you'll find Australia is actually the loudest.
But why? Why are we so concerned about being silent on a train? Do we do this because we are polite and respectful people? It is doubtful that there isn't a single person who has rude or annoying tendencies, yet when put into a compressed place these people (mostly) all become the same. 
Trains aren't the only place that this happens. Elevators are an even bigger contributor to the forced awkward silence. It would appear that the smaller the space the quieter and more awkward the people in the space become. It even extends to the point where conversations completely end when entering the elevator. For those old enough to have seen the movie Borat you will remember the elevator scene. For those of you who are to young or found Borat too gross I'll give you a quick run down of the scene. In this scene, Borat and his producer are having a physical conflict. They also happen to be naked. This conflict is carried to an elevator where, upon entering, they fell completely silent and stood completely still. Although these men were actors it helps to highlight the ridiculousness of elevator etiquette.
Yet no one seems to know why we are so quiet when forced into a small space. There are some people out there who like to cling to the thought that there is some goodness still left in humanity and we fall silent based on a mutual respect towards each other. I'm skeptical of this, I find it hard to believe humans can be this respectful on a whole. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good people out there, just not everyone. I believe we fall into this silence because of a fear of being embarrassed. We are scared that people will judge what we say or do. It becomes easier to stay quiet, to conform to the social standards that are laid out before us when facing a confined space. But if you aren't one of those school children who sit in a pack on the train talking about how hot a girl is or how much you're going to drink this weekend, maybe you should conform just a little bit. Because the rest of us don't want to hear what you have to say.