So I was just walking along Kembla Street and I saw that the girl walking ahead of me slowed down for a bit to take a selfie. I was walking faster so when she slowed again to take the second one I was in the perfect position to stick my face into the background of the shot. So I did. She freaked out for a second (should have taken a photo of that) and I kept walking past her, she yelled out “You just caught me didn’t you” and I just nodded without looking back. She was pretty embarrassed, especially when we agreed I was going to post about this on facebook…Made my day.
After reading a friends recap of 2012 I was inspired to do the same, so here I am lying in bed at 4am making a list of what happened to me in the year of meh:
- At the end of last year I moved into a new house with 3 friends from school. After living at Weerona for 2 years and then with a bunch of guys from College it was actually a bit weird to be living with these guys again. It was definitely nice but also definitely a change of pace (and political/social correctness). Instead of the dirty, shabby ‘house’ from last year I moved into a lovely solid (see insulated) house near the Botanical Gardens and while it was less crazy fun than the last few years it had one feature I’d been missing: it’s ‘nice’.
- Over the Uni summer break I started working at BRG full-time which was definitely a new thing for me; I’d worked more than full-time on farms during the summer, but working full-time in an office (with air con!) was way different, probably especially because I was still in Wollongong with all my mates, but not able to spend all day screwing around at home and the beach.
- The highlight of my year was the 10th of March when I went to Future, my first music festival. We bought tickets pretty late so had to splurge on VIP passes which is the best ‘mistake’ we’ve ever made. For the extra $50 we completely avoided the queue of thousands of people and walked straight into Randwick Racecourse and once we found the stage we were looking for, went into one of the special fenced off VIP areas with seats, a VIP bar and most importantly a VIP only toilet block. I missed out on seeing a couple of people that would have been fun (notably Swedish House Mafia and Fatboy Slim) but had a great day seeing Skrillex at the main stage, then spending the rest of the day in the VIP pavilion (with another better bar!) watching Flux Pavillion, Zane Lowe, Knife Party and my favourite, Porter Robinson.
- I went back to Uni for one session in 2012 to finish off the major that I started uni with but wasn’t super keen on: Multimedia and Game Development. This was a mistake. Because of how much I didn’t like the subjects (Game Development and Computer Graphics) I didn’t put much effort into them at all and by the time I decided to withdraw it was far too late leaving me with a couple of very nasty F’s at the bottom of my transcript. Thankfully the class that I took for fun that session (Server Technology) brought me my first HD to even things out a little. So without the major that I stayed an extra session to get I graduated in July 2012 with a Bachelor of Computer Science majoring in Digital Systems Security (and if you look in the Hay newspaper, I graduated with High Distinction which sounds pretty fancy even if it isn’t a real thing).
- Onto a strong negative: losing my job and not having anything set up for me to move onto. For about 16 months starting in January 2011 I worked for a small finance company in Wollongong where I was thrown into the deep end on IT Support, in-house development and Server/Network Administration. After floundering around for a little while I found my way and started getting more proficient in a bunch of technologies I’d never used before and found myself pretty comfortable in the position (perhaps too comfortable!). Because of this, and the vague (I can see that now) promise that I was welcome to stay for as long as I wanted, I only applied for a couple of Graduate Programs starting 2013. Of course around the time that all of the programs closed (which is really early in the year!) I found that this promise wasn’t quite as strong as it had seemed. The guy I had replaced when I initially started the job had come back a few months earlier and had decided he was comfortable taking up both positions again so I found myself being made redundant for the first time at the ripe age of 21. I understand their position and there is no hard feelings (I learned a LOT during my time there and was treated quite well throughout it), no company wants to pay two people for a job that one of them can do alone, but it definitely left me on my arse with no strong plan as to what I was going to do next year.
- After Graduation I didn’t have much to do except look for a job, whether temporary or permanent, while waiting to see how the grad programs I did apply for came along. After being on the approved tutors list for over a year I approached a teacher about tutoring one of his classes and I got the job quickly finding myself a “Casual Academic” for the Faculty of Informatics and earning a boatload of money to go with it; pity each session only goes for 13 weeks! It was definitely a new experience not only getting up in front of a class of about 40 people, but being paid to do it with the expectation of learning them some. I tutored ‘CSCI110: Introduction to W3 Technologies’ so had a pretty broad group of students from Artists to 3rd year Computer Scientists, but most of the class was made up of 1st year Compsci kids. It was a pretty good gig once I stopped myself stressing about being good enough, the only real hassle was weeding out the students who were making a real effort on their assignments and those who were trying to cheat me with hard-coded ‘dynamic’ sites or doctored screenshots.
- Tutoring also gave me plenty of time to follow up on the two grad programs I had applied for. I spent a day in Sydney and most of a week in Canberra going through the process of applying for a public service grad program making it from a pool of 1800 initial applicants into the top 160 but unfortunately (after loads of waiting) I found that I was unsuccessful in my application. Bugger. One day after finishing up one of the 110 labs I got a call from the other place I’d applied, the place I’d pretty much given up on it had been so long: Google. I was super excited being contacted by them and had a few phone calls confirming details and talking about positions I was eligible for. Unfortunately I didn’t make it into Google either, being put out after the phone interview; apparently Google is a pretty popular company and it was a pretty competitive race getting into the one open position. Ah well.
- I got a little stressed out at this point. Where am I going to work? Am I going to waste another whole year waiting while I apply for grad programs next year? Do I have to leave Wollongong? For where, Sydney? I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing so once I finally got myself together I started applying for other jobs in the Wollongong area. By now my job at the Uni was over and I was bleeding money fast. I had a few family friends help me with my resume and talk to contacts they had, but not a lot came out of it. After a long application process, an induction and an even longer wait I started working at Woolies. Definitely not the job that the $30,000 piece of paper getting dusty in my bedroom convinced me I’d be getting, but a job! Since October I’ve been working about 4 nights a week doing Nightfill at Woolies and surprise, but I really like it! It’s really messing with my sleep schedule and it isn’t a get-rich-quick sort of job, but it’s pretty easy, has virtually no stress and I like hanging out with a different group of people for a few nights a week. Apparently a change really is as good as a holiday? At least I’m paying rent pretty easily again!
- In the last few days I’ve applied, been interviewed for and successfully gotten a job in the Wollongong City Council IT Helpdesk. In the coming months they’re rolling out Windows 7 and Office 2010 so my Level 1 & 2 IT Support job is going to be a bunch of little nightmares, but it’s full-time and the pay is pretty good so I’m sustainable. I’m not bothered if I’m a little overqualified at this stage, it’s a stable job while I look for something with a better future, and maybe apply for 2 or more grad programs for next year
- My family are arriving tomorrow afternoon for Christmas in Wollongong! It’s my first time ‘hosting’ Christmas and while it’s going to be a pretty low-key affair and Mum will be helping with a lot of the cooking it’s a pretty exciting milestone and should definitely be fun. Plus, Christmas at the beach, yes please!
- After 3.5 years in Wollongong, finally climbing Mount Keira!
- Being referred to by a young girl at work as “the man”. She picked some cardboard up off the floor, put it in my trolley and ran to her mum and yelled “I helped the man!”, blew my mind that it’s sort of appropriate. I feel old and not my age at the same time!
- Going to the ENGAGEMENT PARTY(!!!) of some friends at school. Back to not feeling my actual age, that shit is scary!
- Getting a 3-day pass to PAX AUS!
- Graduating from University.
- Finally dropping my self-imposed ban on reddit…there has been a lot of reddit.
- No Fast Food February and October; I’m hardly in awesome shape, but I’m in a much better place than I was earlier in the year.
I’ve definitely left a lot of stuff out, but that was my 2012. It wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t too bad either; I had some strong highs and lows. I’m trying to stay positive about it and using it as a starting point for how I’m going to go for it next year with my full-time job, hitting the gym, PAX AUS in July and much more. Finishing this off with a strong feeling I had last night when I was looking over my twitter for anything to add to this:
“When I read over my tweets, I feel like a douchebag”
This afternoon I walked into the kitchen after hearing the stove-fan and smelling something synthetic burning. Turns out my housemate Ash was cutting some of his rock-climbing gear to length by heating up my steak knife on the stove and using it to cut his little ropey thing so it would melt at the ends and not fray…while at the same time melting all over my knife.
Because I mean why wouldn’t you?
A couple of years ago (today actually) three friends and I (myself, Sam and Charlotte up there with Peter taking the picture) were on a pretty routine midnight Maccas run until we realised the door to the playground was open. We spent the next hour running around playing in the playground and eventually making up a track and holding time trials. We all came out of it with a lot of bumps and bruises and one of us (me) victory. When we were finally discovered we weren’t yelled at or threatened, the Maccas employee just stared at us and said “Don’t you guys have anything better to do?”. We didn’t. Sometimes I really miss college :p