Father Brendan’s Thursday Thoughts | OPINION

RECENT university Orientation Week stories have me musing on my old uni days – and thankful my university’s O-Week was always so boring. Before my first O-Week I was warned by a mate “Be on your guard tonight against uni girls. They’re different from the Catholic girls you’d be used to!”

But when I got into the bar, I thought “These girls don’t look so tough. I reckon I’ve got bigger muscles than 60 per cent of them.”

So I sat down in the corner with my apple cider and I see a uni girl looking at me from the dance floor.

She smiled at me. I thought “That’s weird!”. I’d never had a girl smile at me before.

So I smiled back at her. Then, as she’s smiling, she rolled her eyes at me. I thought “That’s weird!”.

So I picked her eyes up off the floor and I rolled them back to her.

I decided there and then “I think I’ll go and be a priest!” 

There’s a Danish proverb: “Let another’s shipwreck be your sea-mark”.

Not saying my time at uni was a shipwreck, but I learned a few of the “do’s and don’ts” of education there that I now pass on to you.

The word university comes from the Latin word “universitas” which means a “whole”.

It’s where all knowledge unites; where truth, beauty and goodness come together.

That’s part of why traditionally universities educated in the most beautiful surroundings possible. This being the case, an important lesson at university is to avoid like the plague all things that will lead you away from truth, beauty and goodness. 

I’m dubious of the recent release of The Red Zone Report from End Rape on Campus Australia.

I prefer the findings of what has become known as The Broderick Report (released November 2017), which interviewed 632 students, took over a year to prepare and cost more than $1 million. 

This report found the overwhelming majority of students felt supported by the college community and deeply believe college culture contributes to their studies.

Having said that, there have been cases of bullying initiations and you want to avoid the overly alcoholic corners of university.

Why? Your mission as a student is not to cloud your judgement but rather the opposite. Many a person does today what they once thought wrong; but then they did it for the first time while “under the influence”. And once you’ve done something once…..   

Another thing to avoid at uni is protests of any kind. These are usually led by students who have lost interest in their studies and so have forgotten they are students and believe now they are teachers.

University protesters are the antithesis of university. They’ll shout out about freedom of speech as they ironically shout over somebody expressing their freedom of speech.

Your day to shine will come when you will do and teach and write. 

But for now, read great books and fill your mind with truth, beauty and goodness so that when your time to shine comes even your adversaries will find your eloquence irresistible.    

Finally, do your work and do it first! Make yourself a timetable and stick to it.

If you do your work first you have your pleasure to look forward to; but if you have your fun first, your fun is spoiled by your nagging undone work in the back of your mind.

Now, stop procrastinating reading newspaper articles and get back to your studies! 

Father Brendan Lee, 

Twitter: @frbrendanelee