[Light, poppy music plays]
Bridget: Hello everyone and welcome to our ninth episode of Better Late Than Fresher, the wonderful fortnightly podcast where we check in with fresher student Cohen and see how he’s going with his university experience, and pass down a little bit of knowledge, and a bit of wholesome advice -you know the drill by now- from generation to generation. We’d like to start off by acknowledging our Romanian and Ukrainian listeners.
Cohen: That’s true, we did a little bit of digging and we found out that we had listeners from Romania and Ukraine.
B: I don’t know who they are! Neither of us have Romanian or Ukrainian background or family or… that’s fine, we love everybody who listens to our podcast.
C: So we’d like to take this time to say thank you. Thank you so much for tuning in.
B: Thank you for tuning in. I hope you enjoy Cohen’s escapades at uni. Maybe you’re an exchange student who listened last semester and you’ve gone home, I don’t know, but thank you for listening.
C: Thank you for your time.
B: I don’t know what “thank you” is in Romanian or Ukrainian. As per usual, Cohen, how has your fortnight been going? How’s your college life been going?
C: College life? College life has been going good, but college life has also been getting a little bit busy.
B: Yeah, okay. So you’re back into the swing of things for Semester two.
C: That’s right, that’s right, yup.
B: Plenty of socials?
C: Exactly, yeah, and it’s going really, really well.
C: Yeah, my explanation of college life on this show is usually categorised by what event that we have coming up next, in which we all face off- you know, battle to the death, that kind of thing. And the next one is the Battle of the Bands.
B: Ohh, okay. Cause I know in the past, we had- there was the murderer’s week where you ran around and hit each other. And there was Fresher dance, which was highly competitive. So now we got Battle of the Bands.
C: That’s true.
B: What’s the deal with that?
C: So. Battle of the Bands is as simple as it seems. Every college makes a band, they all play some music, and one team emerges victorious.
B: What if you’re not good? What if you had no good musicians for the band battle?
C: Then you suffer.
B: Then you have to suffer in front of a crowd. Okay, so you just get together a bunch of people who can make music and just hope something comes of it?
C: Yeah! So most of the colleges will have a cultural, like resident advisor or something like that, who’s in charge of scraping together a group of people to perform. And I think it might be quite tight-knit this year, I’m really excited.
B: That’s good. And you’re not playing? Are you in the running at all?
C: I’m in the band.
B: Oh! You’re in the BAND! Boy’s in the band! Alright, what are you in the band? What’s your role?
C: Oh, you know well by now that I don’t reveal anything until afterwards.
B: Of course. We don’t give the upperhand to the opponent. Okay. Can you tell me how many people are in the band? Is it a five-piece?
C: Well it depends, like, from college to college. I remember when St George’s had like four singers and they call up the other staff and it’s like… I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to go about. But like our band is reasonably sized, I’ll say that.
B: That’s good, let’s hope they have some experience behind them.
C: Oh, sis. Oh, sis.
B: [laughs] You don’t need to reveal anything, but we’re just hoping and praying.
C: Yeah, exactly.
B: Also, I went to Tenth State this morning. Sidenote, those bagels look very good.
C: Those bagels ARE Very good.
B: They are very good. Like I was eyeing one and I was like should I get one? But I didn’t in the end, but they did look very good.
C: A blueberry bagel, with cream cheese, from Tenth State-
B: I don’t wanna, you know, put you back into your place where you were obsessed with these bagels in semester one-
C: It’s too late.
B: But we’ve come through, we’ve worked through that, bagels anonymous, and we got you to a stage- [Cohen laughs], so we don’t want to send you back to that place.
C: It’s alright, I’m back in the driver’s seat right now, but um, I’m impartial to a blueberry bagel every now and then.
B: So when’s the battle of the bands being held? Is it in Tav or…?
C: It’s at UWA somewhere.
C: I should know this.
B: Yeah, you probably should. This is your one chance at stardom.
C: I know, oof.
B: [laughs] That was a bit rough, sorry.
C: Now that you put it like that- ough. Maybe I’ll find out. But um, it’s in three weeks’ time, so the pressure’s on.
B: Rehearsals are happening?
C: Rehearsals are happening. St George’s won last year, because St George’s is like the school of High School Musical. Like everyone there is-
B: I mean they have The Mockingbirds, don’t they? The acapella group. So it’s Pitch Perfect and High School Musical combined in a little place.
C: Literally, so they’ve got like a really, really good band that just plays regularly at their college. And then they’ve got the acapella group as well, and they’re really good. But um, yeah… we… we have fun.
B: We have… something.
C: Yeah, we enjoy each other’s company.
B: You know what, it’s the friendship that’s important. It’s the journey that matters, it’s not how good you are.
C: Yeah, it’s also the trophy though, so…
B: That’s true.
C: If we can’t snatch it…
B: If we haven’t learnt anything about Cohen until this point, the one thing you need to remember is that the golden trophy is the end of the game here.
C: Yeah, except for when it comes to my education.
B: Speaking of which, how has uni classes and stuff been going this week?
C: Going good, I’m already really far behind, but I was expecting that so it’s fine.
B: Yeah, I mean, what is it? Week four?
C: Is it? Yeah.
B: And THERE’S your answer.
C: There we go.
B: So you’ve been settling into your units okay, and you’ve started off your tutes again? Now we’re going into the right tute rooms this time, correct?
C: Yes? Yes, we are, thank you.
B: Okay, we’re not walking into the wrong one and turning around and coming back out?
C: No, I couldn’t find one of them because it was a ridiculous one in like one of the second storeys of the social sciences building. The ones that are like hidden and you gotta like, turn to the left, go through a door, guarded with a leprechaun who are like- [laughs]
B: Permit you to walk through the hallowed halls, go across an ice bridge, yep.
C: Decide which of the guards are lying, you know?
B: It’s all a puzzle to get there. Do you feel like having first semester under your belt it’s a lot easier now?
C: SO much easier! God.
B: So you kind of know where everything sits, and how everything operates. You’ve had a first run with exams and tutes and everything. It’s probably, well, I found it was lot easier going into semester two being like “Cool, now I know what I’m doing.”
C: Yeah, I mean it is a lot easier to find things. Cause now I know where the buildings are, and I know where things are. You know that if someone looks confused when you’re trying to find a room, you ask them and they go “Oh, I’m looking for the same room”, but then you both just kind of…
B: You’re both kind of like “Well, shit.”
C: Yeah and if you awkwardly just kind of follow each other for a little while, you WILL find the room.
B: Yeah, together. And you have a sort of comradery with each other. If we’re lost, we’re lost together, it’s fine.
C: It’s fine, yeah. Exactly.
B: I mean the disappointing thing about semester two is that the Ref’s still not properly open yet. You haven’t experienced yet, in the Refectory?
C: What’s that?
B: So like, you know down in Guild Village, the big room with all the chairs in it?
B: That usually has all food outlets in it.
C: Huh? Sorry what?? One more time.
B: [Laughs] So, the Ref is meant to have food in it.
B: That big room, right? Up until like middle of last year I think? There’s usually food outlets. There used to be a really good sandwich place that was there, but they shut it down- the Guild or uni shut it down for renovation. And it looks great now, it’s fabulous, the renovation, but there’s no food in the Ref.
C: I live across the road from uni. I am ready to go broke.
B: [Laughs] Yeah, I know!
C: Open the doors!
B: From the food trucks? Cause it’s either food trucks, Subway, or Guild Village, which I feel like fits on a bit of a spectrum, it’s like, “Do I want cheap and nasty?”, go to Guild Village. If you wanna go with the food trucks, it’s kind of the other end of the spectrum- you can’t be dropping $14 on tacos every. single. day.
C: It’s not doing my bank account any good either.
B: But no, there used to be food places in there, and I think there will be, they’re still getting their act together.
C: [sighs] Okay.
B: They’re coming. Soon.
C: Thank you, Guild. Thank you.
B: Um, what else is happening around with you in colleges or uni stuff? How’s your room? How’s your pot plants?
C: My pot plants! They’re going really well. My terrarium isn’t dead yet.
B: That’s good! Look at you go!
C: I know!
B: You’re totally on top of it.
C: Sometimes, I water it.
B: Well the thing with like cacti and stuff is like you don’t need to water them too often, because they’ll just get sick and die. So a little sprinkling every so often will be fine.
C: Exactly, that’s really good.
B: You’re good to go.
C: My other plant is fake as well, so that’s a benefit of a plant without the commitment.
B: It looks good, it collects dust, I guess, but then that’s the only disadvantage- that you have to dust it off.
C: It’s going really good. This semester, I’ve actually started using my planner.
B: Nice! How long is this going to last?
C: Until tomorrow.
B: We started on the weekend, planned out my week, and then it’s just going to end.
C: I’ve been like crossing off the days, and now I actually know where I’m supposed to be on time.
B: Funny that.
C: Funny that.
B: If you actually plan what you’re meant to do and where you’re meant to go, then it WORKS.
C: I know, last semester I was like “Alright. It’s December 25th?? What?? It’s Christmas?”
B: Well I mean, yeah, we’re almost, we’re already halfway through the year. Over halfway through the year.
B: It’s August!
C: You didn’t have to say that.
B: [Laughs] I’m sorry. It’s just over four months left of the year. [Cohen sighs] Two-thirds of the way through the year.
C: And let me ask myself: What have I done this year?
B: What have you achieved, Cohen? You made it through one semester at uni.
C: That’s true.
B: You’re steadily climbing through another one. You’re fine.
C: Yeah. Oh, college drama at the moment!
B: Oh! College drama!
C: No-one, like. Very disappointed. Because I bought like- this is going to sound trivial to everyone listening to this, but no one likes my thongs at college, [Bridget laughs] and I love them.
B: Okay. Give me some context.
C: My thongs are square [laughs]. And everyone I’ve ever shown them to has completely rejected it. Like.
B: How come they’re square? Just for our Romanian and Ukrainian and international listeners, we’re referring to flip-flops, like shoes, here, right?
C: That’s a very good distinction to make.
B: [laughs] Literally. Now we have an international lsitening audience, we need to make the distinction. Um, okay, why are they square?
C: Well it’s more economic to produce more thongs with the same material, and also they cover more surface area. So, if I’m going to take a shower in my square thongs, there is a zero-point-zero, negative nine percent chance that my feet are going to touch the dirty floor.
B: Right, that’s smart, actually.
B: Are they from Sri Lanka or did you just-
C: They were, I spent $2 on them and just walked outside and my taxi driver was wearing the same pair.
C: Solidarity. Really.
B: Bargain. [Laughs]
C: Really awesome.
B: So no one likes them because they’re square?
C: It’s worse than no one liking them- it’s been a rejection. An actual rejection.
B: That’s rough.
C: It’s actually pathetic. Yeah.
B: I mean I can make a Hip to be Square joke, but I don’t know how well that would land.
C: I’d have to end this podcast.
B: Yeah. [Laughs] I mean look, the amount of memes and jokes that we discuss. Um, so what have you been up to in your uni life? So we’re talking about social life on college campus, what about uni?
C: In terms of uni, I didn’t really like make any uni friends last semester because I was more concerned with staying motivated and actually knowing where I was meant to be, and I was like if I make friends with this person right now, I’m going to realise I’m in the wrong tute and I’ll never see them again.
B: I mean you made college friends as well, and I guess that’s more important first semester, and then you kind of branch out second semester?
C: So my main question to you is, how do you make uni friends? I know we’ve talked about this before, but how?
B: I mean, a lot of it is just brute force. [Both laugh] Sounds horrible, but like, if you’re doing assignments and stuff together and you’re forced to work together. If you’re doing a group project and you’re all really good group members that contribute a whole lot of work unlike most group projects, you kind of cling onto them like a lifeboat and be like “YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD PERSON! You actually do the work you’re meant to do in group assignments!” Or you just go to uni events.
C: Oh yeah!
B: So like, balls, or… protests or meetings, or whatever. Go to those type of stuff run by clubs and organisations. Meet people that have similar interests so you can be like “Oh, I’m also into politics!” And that’s how you meet people from there. Like, one of my very first friends that I met at uni, we met at a politics club thing, and we were friends throughout.
C: That’s so cool.
B: Particularly if you have beautiful, tender emotional drunk experiences with people, and then you wake up the next morning and be like “Where are all these friend requests from?” From people that you’ve met and then you’re forced to forge a friendship because you’re like, “You’re a good person when I was drunk.”
C: I feel so attacked right now, because this is me on Saturday morning.
B: [Laughs] Waking up after Friday night being like, “What?”
C: Because it’s so many new friends.
B: Do you have- I don’t know if St Cath’s has a ball?
C: Yeah, we had a ball. I met like thirteen people there.
B: There you go! Balls and events and stuff, would be my hot tip. I know you put yourself out there a whole lot anyway, but like, go along to stuff.
C: Oh yeah, so that’s the tip for any first year listening who’s struggling to make friends at university. You heard it here folks- balls and clubs! Clubs and balls.
B: [Laughs] Balls and clubs, or just events run by clubs.
C: Or just brute force!
B: Or just brute force, cling like a lifeboat to people who are good to you in group projects. One of the big social topics, I guess, for this general week, general fortnight around uni, has been the Australian Family Association talk, which was scheduled to go on at UWA. Cause I know there’s been a lot of social hubbub and protests and stuff about it, particularly with the Pride department at uni. Um, were you involved with that at all? Was it college stuff? Was it linked for you? I don’t know.
C: I went to the Snap protest, because I was really disgusted, by this entire thing.
B: Do you want to give some context, for people who are listening and -God knows how- but people who don’t know what’s going on, I guess.
C: Yep, so alumnus of the University of Western Australia, who is a member of the Australian Family Association, was planning to host an event at a venue at UWA, where they were going to invite some very, very questionable figures. Which included a certain Dr. Quentin Van Meter and literally, as soon as I googled this man’s name, and as soon as I found out who he was, I was disgusted that he was even going to step foot on this campus. So Dr. Van Meter is the president of what’s called the American College of Pediatricians, and that sounds very official, when you think about it. Like, it sounds like the name of a registered organisation- like an awesome group of medical people. It’s not, it’s a spliter group of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
B: Now, I believe these guys are a hate group, aren’t they?
C: They’re a hate group.
B: Yeah, nice.
C: Do you know why they’re splintered in the first place?
B: Tell me.
C: It’s because in the early 2000s, the American Academy of Pediatrics decided that they were going to take a positive stance to gay people adopting kids, to which Dr. Van Meter and a few of his friends in the group decided “Hell no!” and they decided “We’re going to form our own group, a much smaller group with a very similar and official sounding name, but just adopt a very, very anti-gay, and very, very transphobic tendencies. So, he was going to come and speak at UWA, which was met by an uproar by many, many students. A petition went around- over 5000 students signed it.
B: I know one of my queer friends wrote an article for Pelican- wrote the original breaking article about it, just being disgusted about it, because he’s a gay man and was like “WHAT is going on?”
C: Which brings us to the email that UWA sent out after the pressure started mounting. So it was by the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor, signed off by the Chancellor AND the Vice Chancellor, which basically said that we recognise two principles at UWA. The first one was like the equality of all people, and then the second one was also freedom of speech, sorry guys- can’t do it.
B: Yeah, so, basically they sent out an email saying we’re not going to cancel the event, even though it wasn’t a Guild or university associated event, UWA venues was just hosting it. But they just flat out was like “We’re still going to let it run on the campus, we’re still going to profit off the money that this event is going to create”, and that was the big argument on the line upon which this was drawn. So a lot of people were like it’s still a freedom of speech, and people are allowed to somewhat say what they’re allowed to say, but then also the fact that the uni was profiting off this type of hate speech which was gonna run.
C: Exactly. It’s like in the end it did get cancelled, and a few people saw that headline and thought, “Wow, UWA is finally listening to us”, but my friend Katherine Hudson, who’s a member of the Pride Department, made a really good point when she pointed out that, as was discussed in the email sent out by the Chancellor, that it was because they didn’t fill out a piece of paperwork. And she said that if brute protesting and stuff like that don’t work at UWA, then bureaucracy is gonna step in.
B: The one thing that, you know, they kept a very firm stance saying “It’s freedom of speech!” and then the one thing that knocks it down is, like you say, bureaucracy issue.
C: They forgot to sign a piece of paper.
B: Yeah. Which, to me, also sounds like a bit of an excuse on behalf of the university. Like the fact that it’s almost, you know, we don’t want to make either camp angry by- you know, if you cancel the event, you’ve got all of their side angry, and if you let the event run, you’ve got all of this side angry. We may as well say “Uh-oh! Well, no one’s to blame, it was a paper issue. Done, cancel, goodbye.” It’s kind of a bit of a cop-out, I think.
C: I’m just very, very disappointed, as a member of the LGBT community, I am VERY disappointed with how that turned out.
B: Yeah, I was going to say, you’ve got skin in the game of this. Like, I’m straight, I can emphasise is all I can do, but you know, for people who are in the LGBT community, it’s…
C: Literally, the trans community is a community that is vilified and marginalised SO often, because people don’t understand it. And that’s exactly what Dr. Van Meter, who was going to come to our university to talk about this fact. That’s exactly where he’s coming from. His points that he was going to present are basically on opinion and they don’t reflect any modern scientific understanding. Like his opinion that he stated is that trans people are delusional- which, just is not reflective!
B: And particularly for UWA again, it’s not a UWA affiliated event, but the fact that it was held in a research university which prides itself in the amount of scientific literature it publishes, and being a top 100 university, and then you’ve got a speech which is being presented here that’s not grounded in science at all.
C: Yeah, exactly. And you have the fact that, I think it was the Medical Students Society at UWA, wrote a letter of concern to the university about the fact that this person, like a medical professional, was coming to UWA to give a lecture on points that were not based on accepted fact?
B: Even if you take it from that perspective, it’s not even just a you know, Social Justice issue, it’s the fact that it’s not even grounded in science.
C: It’s not even fact!
B: It’s not even fact, exactly!
C: Yeah, and at the Snap Action Rally, which was, like I think Dylan Perkins deserves a lot of appreciation for that.
B: So you went to this, this was on Friday?
C: This was on Friday.
B: Last Friday.
C: Yep. So this was put together the moment they found out that this was going to happen, which was earlier that week.
B: Hence, The Snap.
C: So they invited a very, very powerful trans-woman, Cherie, who’s like a research associate at the University of Western Australia, and she pointed out that the person who was going to be speaking alongside Dr. Van Meter, who had written a book about why trans-people are, quote, “delusional”, is an ECONOMIST! Dr. Van Meter himself was an endocrinologist, like a hormone doctor, and they’re both attempting to make very sophisticated points about the psychology of transgender people, and people in the LGBT community! Ugh, I’m sorry, it’s just… yeah.
B: No, it’s been a big issue which has divided UWA in the past week. What’s been reported, and the backflips that the university has done. But, we push on. The university moves on, and they’ll probably try, you know, they’ll brush past it.
C: I mean, on like a final note, a lot of people who argue about this are quite removed from the LGBT community, so they can understand why we have so much to say about this- ESPECIALLY trans people, because a lot of people who are submitting to this have never had their existence questioned on such a fundamental scale.
B: Yeah, absolutely.
C: So let me tell you- as a residential college student, walking to uni everyday and seeing that pride flag flying across Stirling Hwy used to make me so immensely proud that I went to a university that was so respectful of LGBT people and their ideas, which I guess, to an extent is still true, but after this whole bonanza- [laughs]
B: I mean, just saying that “Oh, we have a pride flag flying, so that’s good enough to protect the identity of trans students.” Like, that’s completely performative, right?
C: If you’re gonna fly the flag, respect the flag.
B: And on THAT note! [both laugh] Anything else you want to discuss this week? You got any assignments coming in?
C: Yes, I do.
B: Fun. Essays? What have we got?
C: I have a test on Wednesday. Um, have I done any work for it yet? No. Of course not.
B: Of course not. It’s like Spanish 2.0 again.
C: Ugh, God.
B: The return of your own absolute disaster.
C: Walking disaster. Most of my assignments all happen in the same week, and I need to get out of this state of going “Oh, it’s so many weeks away, it’s fine.” Because I know I’m going to get to the Monday of that week and go, “AHH!!”
C: Why am I so USELESS??!
B: No, you’re fine. You have a talent of being able to do it, and if that’s how your workload works, and how you compartmentalise everything then you do you. I would panic if I got to that point so I know I have to start assignments like a week or two early, but…
C: You know what they say, some people make mistakes under pressure, but some people make diamonds under pressure.
B: [whispers] Oh, that’s good. [Louder] And you’re just a diamond in the rough, baby.
C: [laughs] Let’s hope so!
B: Alright, I think that just about does it for this week, um, do you want to think of a sign off, Cohen?
C: Oh my god.
B: I’ll give you some time to think. Thank you everyone for listening to this episode- particularly our Romanian and Ukrainian friends. Please keep listening. As always, if you’ve got anything you want us to just discuss, send it in to [email protected] Fantastically, we now have some new additional podcasts which are on the Pelican network for you to listen to. We only record fortnightly, but there are three now, three wonderful podcasts that get released weekly, semi-weekly. So we have Thicc Queens in Cars, with Laura and Izzy. We have Tortured Artists, and we have What’s up Doc?
C: I’m so excited.
B: Have you thought of something?
B: Alright, what have you got, Cohen?
C: [Laughs] Thanks for listening to Better Late than Fresher. Just remember podcasts are a treasure.
C: It’s getting bad.
B: It’s getting worse every single time. Alright. I’m Bridget.
C: I’m Cohen.
C: Thanks for listening to Better Late than Fresher. And just remember- Podcasts are a treasure.
[light, poppy music plays]
C: So tune in, guys.
B: Alright, see you guys.
C: See you later.
Transcribed by Rachel D’Castro