I spent a few hours today on an information stall for the Queensland Democrats at the University of Queensland orientation day for new students. It wasn’t until I arrived that I started recalling the orientation day I attended at the same campus at St Lucia as a new student just out of school. I’ve been to a fair few of these days to sit on various stalls many times since then, so it took a few minutes reminiscing before I had the sinking realisation that exactly 25 years – a quarter of a century! – had passed since that first one.
One very clear memory I have from that day in 1982 was seeing a bunch of boys gathered around reciting Monty Python scripts very loudly, no doubt feeling like they were being hugely witty and cutting edge. Like many such memories, I have no idea why that one stuck in my head. My other main memories from then were seeing a bunch of guys running around wearing togas, and also feeling a bit let down at how tame it all seemed, given the horror newspaper headlines of the time about how students would be subject to depravity by being given sample bags telling us all about sex and drugs and condoms and the like (maybe the togas had something to do with it).
I didn’t hear any Python being quoted this year, but I saw and heard a few things that seemed like a 2007 equivalent, which made being a bit older not feel quite so bad. And there was some good feedback and interest at the info stall as well – much better than some of the responses at the same stall 5 or 6 years ago – which always helps.
Considering how much time has passed and how enormously universities have changed since that time, it was actually not all that different a scene. Although clearly some other places have changed a lot more. One Uni told us that Orientation Day was a “corporate event” and not really suited for general political information stalls – but if we still wanted to do so, if would cost $1100 for the day.
Just to cap off that feeling of fleeting years slipping by, when I got home tonight, my wife had got out a DVD of some episodes of the original Starsky and Hutch for me to watch – after she found an old poster under the house that I used to have on my bedroom wall as a kid. They don’t make them like that anymore. (actually they probably do, and I just don’t watch them)