So they say the human attention span limits our ability to focus for extended periods of time. That’s why experts recommend that about every two hours you deserve a 45 minute study break in order to refresh your mind. You know what? I value expert opinions. I mean, after all, they are called experts for a reason. So before my last exam I figured I’d take my study break. But, since I had been studying and writing essays for the past two weeks, I figured that, mathematically, I need a break proportionate to the amount of work I had been doing. And that’s how I justified my one week vacation to Sydney before my last exam. A few other spiders studying at University of Melbourne and I went off to Sydney to stay with a few Spiders studying there. And thus, we were spreading our spider web over Australia…because we’re spiders. Spiders spin web. And that, my friends, is almost definitely the last Richmond Spiders pun I will make.
Anyway, a few friends of ours from Richmond offered to let us stay with them in Sydney. What’s nice is we’re getting an opportunity to see what it’s like at other universities in Australia. They live on campus at their university, but much like University of Melbourne it is very much a commuter school. Still, the smaller minority who live on campus is proportionate to the size of the entire student population. So, there are about 1000 students living here at a time.
The city of Sydney is incredible. We took time to visit some of the famous touristy areas like the opera house and the royal botanic gardens. Before we left to venture out into the nightlife of Sydney, we had to decide whether we would try to catch the last night train, or wait until they started again in the morning. And that’s when I realized you reach a point in life where you tell yourself that all-nighters are over-rated. You come to believe and accept that, after countless late night study sessions and written-in-one-night papers, nothing really special happens at the break of dawn other than a weird bodily sensation of fatigue that you can’t really differentiate between “just woke up” fatigue and “it’s really time for me to go to bed but I’ve had too much caffeine” fatigue.
So, like back at school, we decided that we would catch the last train, feeling that we had outgrown the all-nighter phase. And with that decision, we learned another very important lesson. Some decisions don’t go the way you plan them to. Sometimes, because of things like track work on trains, a changed bus schedule and a very convincing argument that there will be a second “last train”, you just don’t get to avoid the all-nighter…And sometimes you don’t get to avoid it three times in a row. Now, as much as I would love to say that the incredible people we met at 4:30 in the morning showed us a different part of Sydney that I will personally hold dear forever, I can’t, mainly because everyone else was asleep at 4:30 in the morning. What was incredible, though, was the way friends can make up games to keep themselves entertained for hours until the trains start running again. I guess that’s when the creativity kicks in. But you definitely find out who you can and cannot deal with after four hours in the Australian version of Burger King. And I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.