#FOMO

I’ve decided to change my degree. A big decision. None of it’s finalised and I may change my mind yet, but for the moment it’s where I stand.

My certainty about transferring faltered slightly after my lecturer emailed me with the news that the median income for my profession to-be had increased from USD$84,125 to USD$92,125. It’s the little things…

Second guesses, after I had begun to tell a few people I wanted to change I began to notice everything I enjoyed about my current studies. I had felt proud telling people the subject that I studied and when I realised I would no longer have that, I felt melancholic about no longer saying what I had once said proudly. Forming my identity around my subject had given me strength and now that I was disassociating from it, I was producing uncertainty.

I started to question myself, I had to consider that these are early days, I haven’t even finished a semester, I haven’t even completed the introductory units for my degree so how could I know for certain that it will be the right decision to change? I solved all of these question by accepting their validity. There wasn’t anyway that I could know for certain if my decision was right, I had to approach it from a different angle.

I took all of this on with the knowledge that I can talk myself into anything. For me, the grass can always be greener. This uncertainty about changing my degree gave me flashbacks to December, 2015, when I was changing my VTAC preferences every second day. I eventually got so done with changing my VTAC preferences that by the day the offers came out, I had completely forgotten who and what I had applied for. All these memories cast a helpless and immature tone on my yearning to transfer courses so again I felt uncertainty.

Despite the traumatic experience choosing my VTAC preferences was, I was lucky enough to land in a course that fitted me perfectly. To some extent it still does, but there is a reason I want to change. My reason isn’t particularly stunning, it’s primitive and toddlers have an aptitude at exhibiting it; I’m missing out.

Someone once told me that the only thing they felt was difficult about getting old was the reality that they wouldn’t have as many options as they once did. They began to miss out on things, not by choice, but because the opportunity was no longer there for them; travelling the world, learning a musical instrument, learning a new language, having your dream career etc. In life you have ambitions which are yours and opportunities which are given to you. I’ve seen, more often than not that one’s opportunities tend to expire before one’s ambitions do. To still have an aspiration with you but know that it’s opportunity is gone is heartbreaking and I think what is meant when people speak about the pains of growing old.

This is the reality I’m making my decision with. This I the reality that I aspire to make all of my decisions with and I hope everyone is aware that if they need to, they’ll always be able to make the hard decisions in their lives according to this.

I’m aware that I may be taking a course transfer too seriously. Thousands of students around Australia are gearing up to do the exact same thing this semester. I’m speaking of the sentiment involved in the decision.

Knowing that I should have taken a turn/made a decision earlier in the journey but haven’t is something that I wish to avoid.

So, what are my reasons for my transfer and why am I doing it? I believe, that along with the few moments in life that you’re forced to make a left or right turn, sacrificing one path to go down another, there are thousands of moments where you have to slightly adjust, tighten your focus, take stock of your situation and make very small, very important decisions. The more time between yourself and these decisions the greater their affects become. In ten years, I wonder what I’ll think and how I’ll feel about my first year at University. What the decisions I made ended up resulting in. I’ll always know that I made them from a sentiment that I stand by.

By Oscar Dobbs

We need to talk

You need to understand people’s experiences of you and what your expertises are.

If I’m being honest about my writing, I would say that I’m the person who it interests most.

I’m rewarded by the energy I put into a blog and the style that I write it in. The audience won’t want to invest time in reading and making sense of my blogs when they’re written out for myself.

Dishonesty isn’t necessarily bad either, but it is something that will always incur a cost.

I’ve realised that I don’t really write for anyone, I’m very circular in my thoughts and I think it’s because my whole life I’ve unconsciously wrote to myself. Dishonesty towards my writing style and about whom my writing style gives more to (myself instead of the audience) comes at the cost of the audience not being interested; which then costs me my purpose. It’s so crucial that I shift this habit to writing for someone else.

I’ve seen other blog post about being true to yourself, about questioning the reasons that you’re at La Trobe and are studying your particular course? I wholeheartedly agree with this post. But I do think that discovering your own reasons and experiences is just one step in the process: the first step of many. I believe the next step is that: along with figuring out what you do and why you do it, you need to understand the experience other people have with you and your expertise.

Stephen King has said that when he writes a novel, he pictures one person whom he’s writing for. He relies on imagining the reaction and comprehension of this one person to his writing so that he can relate to his work through the mind of someone else.

A big part of high school for me was accepting that if someone couldn’t understand what I was saying through writing, it meant nothing. I was trying to create more complexity instead of simplifying. The worst thing was that I wore this habit like a badge. It was an immature attitude and one that I’m slowly jettisoning at La Trobe. Very slowly.

I can’t remember what person Stephen King wrote for but it was someone he knew personally; the idea is to have someone who you know (I do remember though that he explicitly stated spouses do not work – I agree). You don’t write for Jane Austen or F Scott Fitzgerald. You write for a family member, a co-worker, someone who is different enough from you that you can’t rely on intuition or complicated delivery. You don’t rely on them, and they don’t rely on you. The author and the audience rely on what the author has written, nothing else. It should be someone who won’t understand you, unless you do what’s required to communicate effectively. It’s a bit like the personal training of writers; a very lazy subspecies of human.

Since studying communication, even for these short five weeks, I’ve embraced the idea that if you explain someone something and they don’t understand what you’ve said, that’s your issue. They might not understand the content, that’s fine, but if they can’t even tackle the content because they have to wrangle your delivery, the issue is with you.

By Oscar Dobbs

Purpose

I believe a person’s purpose is their key. Once you know what someone’s purpose is, it makes their actions clearer to themselves and to you. I find the people who have the most effective purpose, only disclose it to me when they need me to be involved. I don’t enjoy people who interact with me using misdirection. This feeling seems shared by the general public as seen through the rotation of indirect politicians. Their purpose is no longer grounded in a virtue or a belief; it’s been morphed into an existential loop. Now its purpose is to portray a purpose, a phenomenon that ruins us.

How does someone’s purpose slip away? A person’s purpose for something and its application is often shaped by how they entered their profession, degree, role. People validate their behaviour by the same behaviour they experienced from those around them. For instance, they reason the truth they give by the honesty they’ve received. Its not a good habit to pursue a purpose for the sake of others instead it must be of necessity to you. You must produce your own brand of purpose. Never let your original purpose become superseded because of complacency. It’s the plight of adulthood that slowly crosses off enough childhood convictions and beliefs that your purpose has become something you would have been repulsed by. With or without your own volition, you’ve realigned your senses, recalibrated your reasons. Your purpose hasn’t grown, you’ve been tailoring it to survive and prosper in a systemically broken professional/mental/societal climate. Don’t throw it away.

To combat this: do not enter a profession unaligned to your purpose, and, if you do, make your purpose as simple for yourself as you can. There will be times that your job will not be inline with your passion, however, you do need this job to move forward; to obtain your purpose. The hard part is doing it without compromising or becoming completely lost. Successful people commonly have a purpose that is either shared or pairs up nicely with their job. It is rare that they immediately land a job that fits them and their aspirations perfectly. They have had to work through various situations all requiring different things so they could create a position truly for themselves. I find that it strengthens your resolve as a person when you are taken away from your passion and forced to maintain it under your own duress. The experiences afforded to us through life are a strengthening process; you shouldn’t turn away.

You can follow this path, but also, if your purpose isn’t a part of the field you work in or the society you live in; make it so. It’s unlikely it doesn’t belong, it’s just missing. For example, honesty and transparency are components set in place for the purpose of communicating. They strengthen the message and simplify its delivery. Yet they are neglected from some of the most important elements of communication. Communicating honestly is often unpopular but when it is attained, it reeks dividends. Just because the ideals that you wish to attain aren’t prevalent in your job does not mean that they may not be a key element to the position. Your purpose is the focal point of everything you do, make sure you know what it is.

By Oscar Dobbs

Why?

In Year 11 somebody told me that the content I was studying in high school was irrelevant; what’s important is the ability to pass the exercise. You need to show you’re capable of passing.

The content of your studies in high school, either by time, method, or innovation, has been made useless outside of the classroom for the sake of educational practicality.

At this point every student deserves to ask a question. If the content is irrelevant, then why is it important to pass the exercise? Why would I want to learn knowledge to regurgitate it? In my experience, the ‘why’ sentiment is a common feeling students have towards their studies. How you’re dealing with, or have dealt with it, shapes your attitude. It deserves to be answered.

However you dealt with that question; through answer, evasion, disillusion… it has a lot to do with the condition you find yourself in at University. If you weren’t aware of it then, I’m sure you will encounter it. The act of asking yourself why is going to occur relentlessly throughout your life.

For instance, my degree.

I was advised before I went to university to learn what the central questions of my discipline were and to apply them to life. Obviously, if you’re a forensic accountant it’s not good to approach personal relationships with a such a critical eye. Your personal relationship may be improved though if you can accurately explain to someone what you do, how it’s different from other accounting specialties, and why it’s needed.

All of these things will be made clearer through knowledge of your disciplines questions. Knowing and understanding the central questions that govern your discipline will give you simplicity. Answering someone simply is what’s best for all parties involved. An employer may ask what service you provide to them, you need to say what you do, what that is and why it’s needed.

This is an example of a question that you’ll have to face. You are more likely to walk away from these interactions feeling validated if you’ve related your skills simply. Save the complex answer for more complicated questions. The reason you do things are best when they’re simple.

I think this sentiment can also be applied to your life. As I become an adult, I begin to see which ways I want to live. Without being too systematic, I think that if you’re aware of the questions you commonly ask of yourself and the people around you, your life may become less of a mystery. Again, being able to explain why you feel a certain way in simple terms can alleviate immense pressure.

I relate all this back to what I said at the beginning. The content of what you study at school wasn’t the most important part. University is different. The exercise isn’t to regurgitate knowledge. At university I’m taught to apply.

If you immerse yourself into a university, you not only absorb the content (hopefully relevant), you challenge the thoughts you already had. You get better at expressing your ideas to people and listening if your ideas aren’t required. You get better at reading situations and reading what your normal responses are to them.

A University, if it’s used for its intended purpose, is a training ground for humans still learning to apply.

By Oscar Dobbs