Patience, my friend

Well it looks as though a new academic year is upon us.

I finished university a few years ago but I still remember my first day at the University of New South Wales: I walked on campus and some of the first people I saw were the very people who had already finished their university studies. They, with their big smiles and graduation garb – caps, robes and that hot piece of paper in their hand saying they were graduates – made it; they finished uni and got a degree.

I remember looking at my friend and we both moaned. We just wanted to be there already and we were only first-years! Neither of us had even stepped into our first lectures.

It took 3.5 years that included hundreds of lectures, tutorials, workshops, group meetings, study sessions, presentations, late nights and thousands upon thousands of pages of readings to get to that point where we were the ones wearing the caps, robes and, most importantly, holding that hot piece of paper in our hands saying that we were done with uni and finally graduates.

Sure, we had the end in sight but we had to work and wait to get there. Because real achievement doesn’t happen without patience.

My friend and I were both, in our own ways, ambitious people. We knew what we liked and where we wanted to go more or less. Obviously, there were times that we couldn’t see the end in sight but we still moved forward. No going back!

It could very well have been the fact that we were (and still are) passionate people, so having to make patience our friend could be a real chore at times. Sometimes I just felt like kicking patience out the window.

We laughed back then – and I still laugh now – because people thought we were somewhat cool-headed, chill, dreamy, aloof and even at times unenthusiastic people.

The reality though was that we both had fiery heads and hearts. How we managed to manifest that general sense of cool is actually beyond me. The only factor that I can think of that helped temper our passionate beings was patience.

I remember a random conversation we had while we were undergrads about bombs with long fuses. We readily agreed that, if we were bombs, we were definitely those kinds. Things set us off that’s for sure but neither of us ever really exploded on the get go.

Why? because we knitted very long fuses for ourselves. After all we didn’t want to self-destruct and we wanted to keep on track.

How did we knit those long fuses? Well, the times that we had to wait for a PC in the lab to be free again, we waited; the times when we had to respond to feedback from our tutorial groups, we listened then spoke; the times that we had to sit still and write up essays and reports, we sat still and typed away. The list could go and be more personalised to your own circumstances really.

Easy stuff? Definitely not! Did we manage to keep our heads on our shoulders all the time. Nope, not always. Did we get back up again? Yes!

Especially at times of setbacks we had to come up with other tactics or take other unexpected avenues but we didn’t give up. We had to flexible.

Both the successes and setbacks helped us both along the road to success.

We both did very well at uni. My friend got the university medal and I graduated with a distinction average. Success was the fruit of hard work and not just luck. Patience and perseverance go hand in hand.

While uni was a big part of our life at the time, it wasn’t the only thing either. There’s more to life than the university campus. It can be hard to even contemplate that notion when you feel chin-deep in assignments but I think it’s important to remember to burst the ‘student bubble’ that can encase our heads and environment at times.

SO… if you’re starting the new academic year, besides catching up with your old friends and making new ones this year, try making friends with patience as well if you haven’t already done so. It will help you out a lot if you let it.

Then, finally, you’ll get there. Degree in hand and all. Good luck!

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