Editorial: Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

With Guest Editors Samantha Gianotti, Caitlin Abley and Mark Fullerton

Last week, AUSA emailed us and asked if we could fill in as editors for the thirteenth issue of Craccum. We were, of course, exceptionally busy watching YouTube compilations such as, “rare vines that were there for me when my fish died (not clickbait)” and “Timothée Chalamet & Armie Hammer Cute Moments—Part 8”, but we cleared our schedules for one last ride. We helped edit Craccum for three blissful, sweaty years between 2015 and 2017, and honestly, we have felt its absence keenly in the last six months. Craccum gave us a community at university, which is not the easiest thing to find at UoA.

If you are returning from the inter-semester break feeling a little despondent and disenchanted with our university, know that we so deeply understand. UoA students are disadvantaged when it comes to student culture; buildings are sprawled across the central city, as well as four satellite campuses, the Auckland rental market has decimated ‘student suburbs’, and the cost of living means free time has become somewhat of a luxury. Attending the University of Auckland can be desperately isolating, especially for those doing degrees within faculties that don’t have a thriving social scene, such as Arts or Science (actually, it can be desperately isolating for those doing Law and Engineering too; we have 1.25 Law degrees between us, and the one time we tried to join in by going to Law Camp we ended up placing empty RTD cans next to our pillows before we went to sleep so people would think we had passed out because drinking oneself into a comatose state was more socially acceptable than going to bed at three in the goddamn morning).

This is all to say that our years at university can be lonely, especially after the constant social interaction experienced in a secondary school environment. If chatting to the person next to you in tutorials seems like a daunting task, student clubs are specifically designed to bring strangers together through shared interests. There are clubs for dessert-lovers, anime-enthusiasts, powerlifters, aspiring comedians, kitesurfers, gamers, acrobats, and dozens of others. There’s even a cheeky magazine put out every week where you’re welcome to share in the joys of reading, writing, or ranking each individual minute of Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Now that we’ve finished uni, we’ve started to look back on it with rose-tinted glasses. No one seems to write songs about being 24 and working full-time. Billy Idol and Hilary Duff wrote tunes titled “Sweet Sixteen”, while Liesl von Trapp warbled about being 16 going on 17. Kings of Leon wrote about a hot chick, singing “she’s only 17!” Red Hot Chilli Peppers wrote about a hot chick, singing “she’s only 18!” Lily Allen and Taylor Swift sung about being 22 and the future looking bright/feeling happy free confused and lonely at the same time, respectively. Blink-182 lamented that nobody likes you when you’re 23 (specifically, when you’re 23 and a) turn on the TV while making out with someone b) prank call your girlfriend’s mum and make a joke about her husband doing anal). If we were to make a mixtape about being 24, the track list would go a little like this:

  1. “24 and still living at home”
  2. “24 and getting a job in the industry you studied for but realising that it isn’t what you thought it was going to be at all but also realising that there isn’t anything better out there”
  3. “24 and just had to borrow money from my mum because my friends wanted to go to a vaguely upmarket burger joint and payday isn’t till Friday”
  4. “24 and setting up an auto top-up on your Hop Card but then having your auto top-up fail because you spent the allocated $15 on a iTunes rental of Certain Women and you only watched a third of it anyway”

While we’re figuring out our quarter-life crises, we know you’ll all have more pressing issues to worry about like study and exams and which bathrooms are the least frequented by your fellow students and as such are the best for hiding away and taking a sneaky poop in. And while you’re trying to make sure no one is around to smell the farts, be sure to take a moment to stop and smell the roses—join a club, buy a Kit-Kat Chunky and share it with your mates, or get a book out from the library for no reason other than you just want to read it for fun. Glean little bits of joy where you can.