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June 4, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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Weekly Rant With HG Beattie

All I really feel like I’ve done at uni is apply concepts from the papers I’ve been taking at the time to my personal life. As such, these are the life lessons I have extrapolated from the papers I have undertaken. I have helpfully included an overview of what I was like in the relevant year, because (a) I am nothing if not helpful, and (b) Salient is cheaper than therapy.


I spent 2010, my first year, in the early stages of a love affair with both caffeine (still going) and the NZQA gravy train (regrettably finished). I had a bob that grew out triangular. At one point I sobbed “I’m so broken” into a pillow.

QUAN: If gin makes you cry, that’s causality. If you are only ever attracted to people that hurt you, and you often drink gin, the most you’ll be able to show is correlation. True fact.

Economics: supply, demand, blah. In 2010 I paid $4 for 150 mL of water at The Temperance.

FCOM: In a spasm of generosity, Vic let students name this paper. Its full name is “Fffff commerce mandatory papers that stretch out my degree.”


I don’t remember much of 2011. I had a Rachel for a haircut, made a few stir-fries, and took the Myers-Briggs test too seriously. I also pashed no-one for the entire calendar year.

200-level Finance is a bit like what Adam Sandler says in The Wedding Singer, when he interviews at a bank: “I’m a big fan of money. I like it, I use it, I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I’d like to put more in that jar. That’s where you come in.” Okay, so I clearly didn’t get much from 200-level Finance, but that movie has the best soundtrack of all time.

I also did first-year Law, and learned that Law students are to university what rowers were to high school, i.e. always going on about something that probably is hard but that no-one else wants to hear about. In fairness, 16-year-old rowers probably don’t spend as much time googling “famous footballers breach of confidence name suppression” to while away the hours until they can leave the library.


In 2012, I finally went to the now-closed Americana diner on Willis St, and watched a man ply a woman with Cruisers. My hair was pretty big. I watched Die Hard and Die Hard 2: Die Harder while drinking Blue Lagoon the afternoon after a test, later got a C+, and defeatedly said “They teach you everything as a rookie, except how to live with a mistake.” The following lessons arose from third-year:

Contract Law: social interactions cannot be regulated using formal written contracts. People are not willing to define relationships, and will seek to avoid even the most basic of ‘liabilities’ by turning off read receipts.

Public Law: if you tweet at the right people, the Official Information Act means that one of them will eventually be legally required to tell you what public servants eat at morning teas.

Criminal Law: a drunken intent is still an intent. (You know who you all are.)

International Corporate Finance: I had started describing my Finance major as ‘ironic’, but 2012’s excellent selection of financial-crisis movies encouraged me to keep going with it. The big banks are just teeming with guys that look like Penn Badgley.

Macroeconomics: to misquote ‘LoveStoned’, the economy looks like a model, except it’s just a little more ass.


I am spending 2013 walking to and from uni in shoes that aren’t cut out for it. Hair-wise, I’m typing this with one hand because the other hand is cracking through accidental dreadlocks.

In property law as in love, register your interest or some other dick will swoop in. Succession lawyers must hear ‘when there’s a will, there’s a way’ and automatically think ‘to get some to your mistress without your wife finding out’. Also, how much money did all our grandparents awkwardly lose in those finance schemes? I have a vague and bleak memory of my mother being visibly shaken and my father smoking up the rangehood in our kitchen, snarling like Uncle Scar in ‘Be Prepared’—“Look, I told him to go secured.” I was busy peaking too soon with Level 1 English, so the memory kind of ends there.

The Economics paper I am taking sneers at me that the government doesn’t reckon I’m particularly rational and it makes decisions for me. I am worried that the word ‘paternalism’ is inherently friendly because my dad’s the smartest man I know, and some paternalistic anti-smoking policies might ensure that he quits, lives longer and continues to make all my decisions.

I think you and I are both reaching the same conclusion, namely, that I didn’t learn life lessons from any of these papers whatsoever. I was generally LIFO of the Commerce lectures (that was an excellent accounting joke, for the unacquainted) but perhaps, looking back over them, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Or something. I don’t know. Don’t you get a bit manic at the end of term too?

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