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Preserving Mental Health

Paul Brown



Well, you’re all getting settled in now and you’ve had your easiest week of this trimester, but are you organised? Now’s the time to learn how to keep yourself sane and focused for the rest of the trimester— I myself am trying to devise a plan to keep myself from strangling anyone. I mean, lets face it, for some of us university life isn’t easy, especially if you’re a slacker who just loves to party.
So what happens when you’re trying to study full-time and work full time? In my experience you lack a balance that will keep you happy and sane. Admittedly some people handle stress better than others, but why test your limits? I found myself asking this question after I had a discussion with one student who was worried about his StudyLink payments yesterday. This student was worried about losing his StudyLink allowance because he had withdrawn from two full year papers. To my surprise I discovered he had enrolled in five full-year papers and eleven papers in total—no wonder the guy was stressed! So now I’m going to tell you what I told him. Your University years are suppose to be some of your better years, developing bonds that will last you a lifetime, as well as taking away a piece of parchment. If you overwork yourself at university, I’d put money on you not seeing your degree through. If you’re on a student loan or allowance, you need 80 Equivalent Full Time Study points (EFTS points) to be considered full time. EFTS points are given in your course outline—they’re the exact same number of points as your paper. It’s not hard to do 80 points.
You have to work the system a little as well and utilise the services provided to you by your students’ association and StudyLink. This refers back to my article the other week about not going hungry, so if you didn’t read it you should find a copy. One thing you should remember is you are charged a levy in your fees for this university, a levy that goes for services such as counselling and doctors visits, so use them if you’re feeling unwell or overwhelmed. The counselling is absolutely free but the doctors visit may cost up to $15. These services are currently overrun, and that is a disgrace. In my opinion, Victoria has no right to run a $10m surplus while student services suffer. I know over the years I have myself struggled to keep myself sane and focused, but this in part has to do with a disability and my coming out as a gay man, so I’m aware of the stress you go through at university and how it can effect your results.
So balance is the key to success at university, and this mean getting a balance between work, university and your personal life. I started to try and find a balance not only last week when I discovered the demands on my time here at VUWSA and my barkeeping job were going to be too much. I‘ve done this by declaring office hours—what a strange concept! So if you want to find me at VUWSA, I’ll be hanging around on the following days during the following hours:
Tuesday 3-5pm, Kelburn office
Wednesday 4-5pm, Pipitea
Thursday 2-5pm, Kelburn office
Heleyni, your Welfare Vice President will be in her office or around VUWSA in Kelburn from:
Monday 11am-1pm
Tuesday 12-3pm
Wednesday 12-6pm
Thursday 11am-1pm
Friday 8am-2pm
So come say hello!
Bogans Unite!

For too long now my mulleted brothers have been neglected at this university, so I have decided to take action! Every Friday at Mount Street Bar we will endeavour to have metal playing for the brotherhood. That’s right, if you want to unwind to some wound-up music, I have just the place for you.
July 20 marked a historic day with bogans being elected to run our newly formed representative group. As you may have guessed, I am the president of said group. My ministers are as follows: Jeremy Creswell, Minister of Mullets; Baz minister of the Bogan Arts, Matt, Minister of Hutt Land Security; and Josh, who has been elected our stress ball (when we need to we kick him in the nuts).
So Fridays will convene the regular meetings of the bogan representative group. This is not a VUWSA affiliated rep group, but it aims at creating a safe space for bogans to drink and be themselves— listening to their Iron Maiden, while wearing your black jeans and passionately debating the merits of Holden versus Ford. You will also be most welcome to discuss your botantical efforts at your home in the Hutt Valley. You will be safe at MSB.
While we are still a very new representative group, we have won support from powerful allies such as Dusty the activities co-ordinator of VUWSA, who has promised to investigate some good Metal/Rock bands for my bogan brothers and sisters. Your elected representatives will come up with some creative ideas for bogan entertainment—ideas like bogan idol have already been discussed.
So come along to Mount Street Bar on Friday and enjoy a beer with your fellow bogans, or simply grow a mullet in solidarity. For new members and old there will be $5 Jack Daniels and $4 Heinekens at the bar.