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August 3, 2012 / Zoe

Feathery Distractions.

One week down. 70-odd to go.

I’m trying not to think about the next 70 weeks of Uni, i.e, the next 3 years until I finish the degree. I’m taking it one day at a time, really quite literally. It’s only if I start to think about the readings and essays and oral presentations that I will have to do in the coming weeks that I start to get fidgety. My heart starts to race, and my palms to sweat, and I begin to doubt that I can actually do this. Narrowing my focus to what I have to do tomorrow, and only tomorrow, is making everything feel manageable.

I’ve surprised myself with how not-anxious I’ve been feeling in general. Walking to and from class, through throngs of people, is difficult. But not excessively so. I don’t avoid it, my usual response to an anxiety inducing task. I just steel myself and dive into the river of people, not looking up until I reach my destination.

Lectures have been good, I’ve already learnt a lot, and I’m well ahead in my readings, and although it’s possible that enthusiasm will wear off, I’m hoping that it doesn’t. The most stressful thing for me is deciding where to sit. I don’t want people to have to walk past me, and I certainly don’t want to have to squeeze past anybody else. I know that might sound like a silly thing to stress about, but it’s that kind of small thing that consumes me. I just get to class early and sit right on the end of a row, against a wall.

I’m been spending much of my time on campus reading in the library cafe. The UWA library is fabulous; not to mention the piles of books I wish to devour, it quite literally has a moat! To get to the cafe you have to go up some stairs, and then back down to ground level next to the moat. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned here before, but I’m quite a keen birdwatcher, so having a body of water next to where I’m sitting is quite the distraction! Two different species of ducks, night herons, and one lonely cormorant frequent the waters. It also overlooks an expanse of grass surrounded by large trees, so I also see Willie wagtails, magpie-larks, wattlebirds, magpies, lorikeets, parrots, kookaburras, seagulls, and cockatoos, all while I’m sitting in the sunshine trying to digest what was the French Revolution.

Sound like bliss?

Well, it is!

I named the cormorant Denis, and I was lucky enough to witness him snare some dinner. Cormorants can dive under the water for quite a long time, and when he popped up he had a little yabby (a small Aussie crayfish) tightly clasped in his bill! He carefully flipped it around, a loud crunch with each twist a sure sign of the poor yabby’s demise. Then, once satisfied the yabby was truly dead, he gulped it up in a single toss of the head.

I hope I will be spending many more afternoons with Denis!



Leave a Comment
  1. Fiona / Sep 29 2012 12:55 pm

    Marry me, Denis….PS Good to see you again. 🙂

  2. Katie / Aug 28 2012 8:52 am

    That sounds like a lovely little spot to retreat to Zoe! I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying uni – going back was such a huge step and you should be SO proud of yourself. You are amazing. Much love to you, Matt and the kitties x

  3. Flamingo Dancer / Aug 21 2012 6:18 pm

    So wonderful that you are enjoying your experience.

  4. Edith / Aug 10 2012 2:16 pm

    I got to UWA too! and I hate uni life. Possibly because this is now my 5th year, and I just want those papers in my hand! The buildings, gardens and libraries are the best part of it all for sure 🙂

  5. Lauren / Aug 4 2012 4:52 am

    How cool with the birds!

    I can relate to the social anxiety for sure.. especially those little things.

  6. Leah / Aug 3 2012 10:39 pm

    That’s awesome! The birds I mean, not the social anxiety! 🙂 Denis sure is a cutie.

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