It was a normal sweltering February day when I walked in to the University of Queensland back in 2010. Sweat dripped down my swarthy back; I was nervous.
Making close friends had never been my forte in high school, and that wasn’t a trend that I wanted to continue at uni. It was going to be my time, dammit!
I had a plan to avoid the same social rejection that had dogged me throughout high school; pick two people and force them to be friends with me. An arbitrary decision, but in my 17-year-old head, it was the only decision that made even remote sense.
Engl1800 was to be my testing ground for this theory. I decided to pick two people at random and become friends with them.
Sitting in the largely vacant classroom, pre-university nerves got the best of me. What if I was still going to be the largely ignored kid I was in school? What if these people didn’t like me? Or worse, what if I didn’t like them? Students starting filing in and I looked for victims. I had decided on a vivacious and pretty tanned girl with long hair and a British twinge as one victim (who I’m pleased to say is still one of my best friends). When a blonde girl rushed in late, I chose my second victim.
Looking back I sound like an absolute stalker, but to nervous and swarthy first-year-literature-student me, this was my way forward, the way to reinvent myself.
So when the teacher gathered us into groups in order to distribute exercises, I (none too subtly) manoeuvred myself into a group with my two victims and another guy.
It was great. We laughed, we chatted and we connected on a level more than people forced together for the sake of class discussion. By the end of the class, we were firm friends and went off to grab a coffee after class. I can go back through my history to count this moment as the moment when I shrugged off the high school insecurities and truly came into my own.
Going to the University of Queensland has certainly helped me develop and blossom in a way that I certainly never thought imaginable. It’s helped me as a person and built me into the human I am today.
Matt Huxley is a blogger, talent manager and retail slave currently enrolled in the Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing at UQ. He’s been published on Moustache Magazine, Expedia, Beige Renegade and Bookstore Browser, but mainly confines his cynicism and “wit” to his fashion and skincare blog Infirm of Purpose.