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No reason:

Nila Nesakulasingam shares a poem about self-acceptance and love. An experience we all identify with......

Prologue:

This poem is about the clashing of a crucial aspect of oneself: self-acceptance. Often overlooked, this process can often look negative or pessimistic, but it is an aspect that many people experience at least once in their lifetimes. 

(Credit: Pexels | Thought Catalog}

No Reason

You say I’m quiet 

You say I’m far

You say I withdrew from what we once cherished 

I don’t blame you 

Not a word I’d disregard, 

Love isn’t my cup of tea

But neither is patience for you

I’m trying my hardest to be there

With little knowledge of what’s meant to be

With no reason, I somehow love you as much as I love me, maybe even a little more

But you want it all 

Sorry darling, that’s a bit expensive 

You say you want to leave

You make me think I want to run away

You make me believe the lie

I believed it, I don’t regret it

It taught me how to love better

Taught me the value of another 

But why so harsh? Tore a wound in me,

A wound that hurts and leaves me sleepless,

I hear you, but ouch, I’m bleeding tears

I’m trying my hardest to be there,

With little knowledge of what’s meant to be

With no reason, I somehow love you as much as I love me, maybe even a little more

But you want it all, 

Sorry darling, that’s a bit expensive

The price one pays for the well-being of a relationship, 

Is the price one would pay to risk being in love,

But I love you while risking it all, 

Actions speak louder than words they say

Perhaps my actions meant nothing so far,

I tried to save me at the cost of your pain

My ignorance, tore you down

We both bleeding tears, just different reasons

We are trying our hardest, I know

With little knowledge of what’s meant to be

With no reason, we love each other as much as we love ourselves, 

But we need more than that, 

Love each other enough for two,

Stop dividing the love and multiply instead 

What’s meant to be will unfold on its own,

The steady flow of our love, may it teach each other to keep going, keep seeing, keep feeling our warmth,

You, I need, I, you need

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Build communication skills with the help of the WSU Library

Read how adults can better build communication skills with the help of books in the WSU library! ...
A large wooden bookshelf filled with colourfully bound books.

Self-education has been a trend in books, podcasts, reality television, and social media for a long time, and is only growing – for university students, navigating the transition between high school and adult life can be overwhelming, to say the least, with no clear guidebook.

Building communication skills can be the hardest part of entering adult life, and it can affect both relationships and a student’s emotional well-being – both personally and professionally.

Whether you’re 18, 28 or 58, these four books can help fill the gaps in self-education – and they’re all free to access online at the Western Sydney University library:

The Barefoot Investor

Scott Pape, author of The Barefoot Investor, makes financial literacy understandable at any level, for any adult, whether they are studying or working, or both. Using farming as a metaphor, the book details how you plant, grow, and harvest your financial security for the future.

With the current cost-of-living crisis, students would be asking themselves these questions – ones that the book addresses: How do we keep our savings instead of spending on pretty trinkets? How do we prepare and save for disaster while still socialising and having fun?

My Blob Feelings Workbook: A Toolkit for Exploring Emotions!

    This interactive workbook allows the reader to better express and understand emotions: becoming more self-aware of your feelings and tracking them over time can help identify triggers that lead to low moods, as well as help find the root causes of anxiety or recognise periods of depression.

    More elaborate than a typical mood tracker, the ‘blobs’ that personify emotions throughout the book include pensiveness, remorse, vigilance, trust, submission, grief, and amazement.

    The Courage to be Disliked

    The Japanese phenomenon that shows you how to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness. Where the previously mentioned Blob Feelings Workbook allows you to explore your own emotions over time, The Courage to be Disliked explores people’s relationships with each other – such as friends, family, and partners.

    It both relates to and helps adults, particularly uni students, as the book discusses being from a close-knit environment, such as a hometown or small family, and moving to a new and different place filled with people of all interests – like meeting classmates and new faces on campus.

    How to Talk to Absolutely Anyone: Confident Communication for Work, Life and Relationships

    Communication is vital to any degree – whether it’s screen and media, journalism, public relations, or any job, for that matter. Whether writing reports, giving presentations, mentoring others, or talking to classmates, or co-workers, How to Talk not only helps students build strong communication skills but also delves into such areas as social anxiety.

    No matter what level of confidence you have – whether you’re a natural extravert or sitting with your anxiety in the bathroom at a party, you are taken through all possible aspects of interaction, so both young adults studying at university, or older, can read the book, or skip to the sections that they’re unsure about – the parts that they feel will help them as they move through life.

    So, whether you’re a student at uni or working – or both – make sure to take advantage of all the resources at the library, particularly those sources, both in print and online, that Western Sydney University has to offer – because an adult never stops learning new skills.

    A distant image of a WSU library with a red overlay. There is a white line art of a student whose head is filled in with books and shelves.
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    Blak and white thinking: What is my place in the 2023 referendum?

    Ruby Ritchie explores the meaning of Blak identity in the context of the Voice to Parliament Referendum. ...
    Invasion Day 2020, Melbourne || Photos by Johan Mouchet via Pexels

    “Questions of identity thus run far deeper than skin colour. And that identity crisis is not born out of a lack of love from Blackfullas. It is a product of proximity to whiteness” – Chelsea Watego, Another Day in the Colony.

    I can’t remember it ever being announced that I was Blak, other than knowing my dad told me when I was little; just like I accepted that the sky is blue, I also accepted that I was Koori. What I was made to understand by white people, though, was that I wasn’t like ‘other’ Blak people. I was a fair-skinned and red-haired kid, growing up in a family and community that looked the same.

    My first relationships with Aboriginal people was at University when I met friends at the Badanami Centre. Our family didn’t know much of our history beyond my great-grandfather, our family name ‘Ritchie’ even being called into question by a lack of paper trail.

    There existed a lot of trauma around our heritage, with my grandfather punished for his father being Blak. Self-loathing, internalised racism and an ill-formed sense of identity persevered throughout the generations of my family.

    My school friends felt comfortable being racist, and even after identifying myself, would call me slurs as a ‘joke’, whilst other people would simply say, ‘You aren’t Aboriginal.’ I would awkwardly laugh it off and pretend I was not hurt, attributing it to ignorance and suppressing the doubt I began to feel.

    Yet after the government released the Voice proposal, my white friends suddenly became more vocal about First Nations issues. They would post colourful social media graphics with statistics about youth incarceration or Indigenous deaths in custody in pretty, frilly font and a caption with the hashtag #voteyes.

    It was unbelievably grating. I felt like I wasn’t Blak enough to contribute to the discussion. Yet, white people could get on a social media soapbox to preach about Blak issues remaining secure in their racial identity.

    Even though I had concerns about the Voice proposal, I would tell myself that my future wasn’t directly impacted, so I shouldn’t count in the discussion. Gnawing away at these thoughts was an overwhelming question of why? Why do I feel I don’t have a place in the discussion?

    In November 2022, I met Mark Dreyfus KC, the Attorney General of Australia, who came to speak to the University. There, I dared to ask a powerful figure about First Nations issues for the first time. Asking those questions made me realise why I never felt entitled to contribute to conversations about Blak issues in the first place; the ‘white trespasser complex’.

    When non-Indigenous people have told me that I am not ‘really Aboriginal’, I felt like a white trespasser in a conversation with First Nations peoples. When you are a trespasser in a community, how could you possibly have a right to speak about changes to that community?

    You feel like an alien stranded between two nations, able to understand what language each group is speaking but unable to respond to either group. Blak and white, racialised and privileged, included but simultaneously othered; these binaries encompass the struggles that come with Blak identity and leave you stranded out of the conversation.

    However, it was never Blak peoples that excluded me, I have never felt so supported by a community before I met my Blak brothers and sisters in Badanami. It was always white people who enforced this complex.

    Having understood this complex, I enrolled in a unit called Law and Public Policy: The Voice to Parliament Referendum. The unit involved students engaging with local communities surrounding the factual background of the Voice. I opted to write an article on W’SUP called ‘Vote with Care; A Guide to the Voice to Parliament; It was an article that empowered me as an Aboriginal woman, as I finally got to spread awareness about issues that affect Blak people without feeling fraudulent.

    As new insights are revealed about the Voice to Parliament referendum, I remain confident in my stance. If you were to ask me my view a few months ago, however, I would have told you that I was unsure whether I deserved to have my voice heard. Now I know that no matter the stance taken, we must endeavour to listen to all First Nations peoples’ perspectives.

    Questioning your racial identity as a First Nations person can be a lifelong struggle, but it does not make you any less entitled to contribute to Blak conversations; if anything, you add a new perspective. Actively concealing your opinion for fear of not ‘being Blak enough’ goes against the purpose of the referendum.

    No definitive standard of ‘blakness’ is required to share your opinion about issues affecting you, your kin, and your community. It is the inclusion of First Nations voices that is essential in this referendum proposal. So don’t fret; understanding your racial identity isn’t always blak or white, and it does not make you a trespasser in community conversations. Blak identity runs much deeper than a referendum.

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    The cost-of-living crisis and how it’s affecting uni students beyond finances

    Natasa covers uni students’ mental health struggles amidst the cost-of-living crisis in 2023....

    Trigger warning: This article contains mention of suicide statistics.

    Many uni students who have weathered and beaten the two-and-a-half-year COVID blues now face an equally hard struggle in 2023 that leaves dwindling sums in their bank accounts. This new challenge they face is none other than the cost-of-living crisis, which is also impacting their mental health. This year, the escalating costs of rent, food, fuel, and education have become pressing health issues that university students face daily.

    (Credit: Pexels)

    Choice between work and education:

    There has been an increase in uni students who are now pressured to juggle the demand of their studies with paid work to continue supporting themselves – whether that be picking up casual gig, or taking up demanding, often unmanageable hours.

    Jacob Nye, a 31-year-old former university student, now works full-time in a management position and yet, is struggling to afford essential commodities such as cereal, meat and electricity due to his rent prices rising from $350 to $600 this year.

    “The only way I could study is if it was self-paced with zero class time and extremely flexible practically. Otherwise, if it cost me any time at work, it would become impossible to study with the cost of living,” says Jacob.

    The preferred schedule described by Jacob could work with Zoom classes – but what happens when students are required to attend classes in person?

    A 2023 survey by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in the UK reveals that more than half of the 10,000 uni students surveyed are simultaneously grappling with the demands of work and education – from attending lectures and tutorials and hastily completing assignments during the semester.  

    (Credit: Pexels | Ketut Subiyanto).

    Jacob states that he feels more “anxious than depressed” about his current economic situation and the knowledge that another rent increase is sure to come soon, which could jeopardise his prospects of pursuing further education.

    “[The] biggest hurdle is cost-of-living; for me, uni would only work if it didn’t impact my job. But I’d be too tired to study after working full time,” he adds.

    In an SBS News interview, one international student believes overwork is one of the reasons students have resorted to the ‘emergency measure’ of using Chat GBT to complete assessments.

    (Credit: Ron Lach | Pexels).

    The strain on mental health and the rise in suicides:

    In 2023, 46% of Australians experience feeling troubled and worried due to economic pressures.

    Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) have released results that the cost of living has, for the fourth quarter in a row this year, been one of the two leading causes for adults over 18 feeling “distressed”, leading to a heightened suicide risk. The study reveals a 19% increase in the likelihood of experiencing harmful thoughts for those anxious and stressed “beyond normal levels”.

    SPA’s Chief Executive, Matthew McLean, acknowledges that social isolation and loneliness drive this distress. According to ABC News, some often don’t have the time and money to socialise amidst the rising cost-of-living. In this climate, fears about the growing cost of a beer ($8+) or an adult movie ticket ($26.50+) can prompt people to skip a friend’s gathering or miss out on socialising altogether.

    Additionally, findings from SPA and a Longitudinal study show that human interaction is not as frequent as in previous years, despite the accessibility of social media. In this digital climate, it can easily seem quicker, cheaper, and easier to communicate with a friend via text or DM than to physically show up to lunch amidst the pressures of budgeting, work, and study.

    With no relief in sight for this cost-of-living crisis, young adults like Jacob will continue to adhere to their preferred schedule – a choice based on necessity. They may do so while hoping the price they pay,+ does not become too high a cost in the future.

    If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, remember you are not alone, and there is support:

    Lifeline: 13 11 14

    1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

    Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

    Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

    Mission Australia: 1800 88 88 68

    Headspace:1800 650 890

    Link2home: 1800 152 152

    Western Sydney Students Financial Support: 1800 668 370

    WSU Renter Support: 1800 668 370

    WSU Emergency Accommodation: 1800 668 370   

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    Statue of former SRC president proposed, students say: “I don’t know who that is.”

    Ruby Ritchie reports on controversial SRC statue set to turn heads....

    DISCLAIMER: The motion proposed by the Student Representative mentioned below is true. However, the following content is entirely fictional and exaggerated for comedic effect. Enjoy the humorous nature of the article and understand that any resemblance to real individuals or events is purely coincidental.

    Members of the SRC have introduced a motion to allocate $5000 of student funds to install a statue of former SRC president, Rameez Parkar. However, when we asked students about the current proposal they were confused as to who Parkar is.

    The former SRC president finished his term late last year and has been praised heavily by two SRC members in particular, who put the motion forward as an homage to their beloved leader. SRC Online Student representative Caitlin Marlor, the mover of the motion, says:

    “Understanding the importance of acknowledging exceptional leadership and the positive impact it can have on the student body, we propose the allocation of $5000 from the SRC funds towards the creation of a statue of Rameez Parkar at Parramatta South Campus …

    Rameez’s tenure as President has been exemplary, marked by his dedication, achievements, and commitment to serving the student community. Through this motion, we seek to honour Rameez Parkar’s remarkable leadership and recognise his significant contributions to the Western SRC.”

    The motion was seconded by Laine Fox, the Parramatta City Campus Representative.

    Whilst exemplary to some, there are students who never knew of Rameez’s existence. One student was puzzled over why they’d make a statue of someone living and even thought of alternatives.

    “Yeah nah, I don’t know why they are making a statue if he isn’t dead. Aren’t they [statues] for dead people? Anyway, I reckon they should make a statue of the garbo at Parramatta South, guys a f***ing legend he helped me get my vape when I dropped it in the toilet,” one student said.

    W’SUP polled 100 of our Instagram followers, asking what statue they would prefer with the categories chosen by the students we interviewed. The results were shocking, to say the least.

    Figure 1 – Graph by Coolmathsgames.com

    Only 3% of students surveyed wanted Rameez Parkar to be glorified through a campus statue, whilst at least 37% of students wanted the unidentified garbageman of Parramatta South to be bestowed the honour. Our data analyst could neither confirm or deny that the three accounts who voted for the former SRC president were Marlor, Fox and Parkar himself.

    Interestingly 32% of students wanted ‘the couple I saw having sex in the campus bathrooms’ to be memorialised as a statue. One student stated their reasoning for the choice of this statue was “If I had to be traumatised by that, so should every student. I can’t battle it alone. We should memorialise these degenerates to spread awareness that students don’t want to witness anyone getting freaky before their fundamentals of finance tutorials.”

    Figure 2 Source: Wallner | Pixabay

    There have also been whisperings in the SRC about what the council may introduce next. A source from the SRC, who would like to remain anonymous, revealed a radical motion has been drafted.

    “Now they want to add a portrait of Rameez to every classroom in all of the campuses to make sure the students know ‘who their loyalties should lie with’.

    I heard them discuss how they want to make the student cohort swear a Pledge of Allegiance to Rameez at the start of every tutorial. I’m thinking of filing a grievance, but I am afraid of persecution.”

    Ultimately, the motion was not supported by the majority of the SRC. Representatives, including the now-former SRC president Crystal Ram, cited concerns about the misuse of SSAF funds.

    If you have any on-campus related issues or concerns you want to raise to the SRC or require further help as a student, reach out to the SRC at src@westernsydney.edu.au

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    Barbie Film Review: Notes from Barbie on the ageing girlhood and the dread of being.

    Sumaiya Chowdhure reviews the biggest movie of 2023: Barbie! Read what the film means to so many girls and women......

    With the release of Greta Gerwig’s most anticipated film of 2023, the world dreams sweet in cowboy hats and pink nostalgia as Barbie navigates the haunt of an imperfect girlhood.

    A running theme across Greta’s filmography and her own characters in films such as Frances Ha and Mistress America, is their intimate exploration of the female experience that is a whirlwind of lightness and melancholy, and Barbie is no exception to this. Expect to be taken on a pink odyssey of coming into age accompanied by satire, laughs, a few tears, and a new meaning to being Girls.

    What makes Greta the comfort filmmaker of our time is her brave storytelling, in that her characters mould the lengths of vulnerability into the female experience that is true and reminiscent of our world.

    In Frances Ha, for example, Greta’s character is a 27-year-old dancer, where a girl is expected to be much more established. However, Frances teaches us there’s nothing wrong with simply dancing through the growing pains because opportunities will present themselves. What matters is that we come into age embracing the violets and the blues the way it was intended and not like it is a crime to feel. Like Frances Ha, Barbie presents a careful deconstruction of the ageing girl’s being and her confrontation with the world.

    Barbieland is a candy-coated utopia of fairy flossed skies and airtight figures run by feminist porcelain dolls. Crossing the borders of Barbieland, the reality of a mirrored world under the Venice Beach sun comes in the shape of strict patriarchy, ageing faces, catcalling at lunchtime, and Barbie being ruthlessly bullied by a 15-year-old girl.

    In the real-world, Barbie experiences emotions unknown to stereotypical Barbies, like humiliation and loss of purpose. Feelings of anxiety and questions of death threaten the consistency of perfection in Barbie, and it presents symptoms of cellulite, flat feet, and unbalanced coordination as she gracefully falls off the roof of her dreamhouse. 

    The unpredictable jaggedness is sort of what it feels like to explore womanhood as each age shows face. Coming into age cannot always be so polite. The uncertainty is daunting as it threatens our comfortability, and like Barbie, we try to shield ourselves from the inevitable. After returning to Barbieland from the real world, she says, “I was perfect before, and now I am ugly; I want everything to just go back to the way it was”. Barbie’s reaction to change takes the impression of the wonderfully real and perplexing girlhood.

    After a 2-hour viewing session, I am sitting next to my friend at a Starbucks, sipping on pink drinks and we discuss the day the world ran out of pink for Barbie. We speak of disappointments at 24, mothers’ sacrifices, ambition, and admit to secretly hiding tears during Barbie’s ending sequence. I asked her if she heard Ruth say, “We mothers stand still so our daughters can look back to see how far they’ve come”. In the theatres, I was immediately nostalgic of Greta’s previous indie hit film Ladybird and its precious mother-daughter dialogue across the golden sunset of Sacramento.

    Gerwig’s Barbie extends on think pieces of mild feminism through body image expectations and a career hierarchy that is somewhat relatable to the modern world experience. However, it is no free-thinking Susan Sontag or Joan Didion. As an adult, I found the feminism aspect to be quite repetitive. However, for many young girls around the world, Barbie may just be the perfect enjoyable introduction to the concept.

    Barbie’s more memorable impression on me was the ending dialogue between Barbie and Ruth Marianna Handler, the creator of Barbie in real-life and in the movie. She says, “Humans only have one ending, but ideas live forever”. Ruth then continues to say as Barbie’s maker, she has no control over her life any more than her own daughter, and there is no requirement for permission to live life freely. If there is one thing Greta’s filmmaking suggests, it’s this: Life will forever offer itself to those who wish to accept it, in a way that transcends the fear of death and change to become part of the greater imagination. 

    Barbie is a delicate rollercoaster, and through cinema, Greta creates a celluloid string that binds the girlhood experience to something familiar. Perhaps, ‘girlhood’ is just that – a by-product of perfectionism and dread where a girl must leap from one existential tenure to another to seek out the next greater idea.