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February 24, 2014 | by  | in Opinion |
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Editorial – O-Week

2014 will be the best year of our lives so far.

Frankly, the last few years have been more than a little bit shit. We’ve been bogged down in pessimism. The Global Financial Crisis affected us all. We struggled to get jobs. So did our friends (except the ones who moved to Australia). We couldn’t afford heating. We bought fewer drinks out. We spent less on presents and received less in turn.

We’ve been ruled by a bunch of out-of-touch old people who don’t pay any attention to us. It seems the only time they listen to what we have to say is when they’re spying on our Facebook chats.

Those dog days are over. We’ve had the bust. Now here comes the boom.

There’s lots to be excited about:

– The economy is forecast to grow by 3.5 per cent this year. This isn’t boring economics-speak: it means that jobs are far easier to come by. They pay better. We can afford nicer things; live in nicer houses.

– It’s election year. Politicians have to at least pretend like they care about us.

– Crime is at its lowest in New Zealand since 1979.

– Last year’s road toll was the lowest in 60 years, continuing the downward trend in deaths.

– University attendance is higher than it’s ever been.

More money; fewer problems.

The mood is lifting. Culturally, things have never been better. Last year, every one of our favourite artists brought out a new album that changed our lives. Bolder and bigger films are coming out. Young New Zealanders are producing some amazing work: think Lorde, Eleanor Catton, Lydia Ko, Steven Adams. We’re getting our swagger back.

2014 will be even better.

On a personal level, university is the best time of our lives. Finally independent from our parents, we have twice the freedom of adults and half the responsibility. It’s just a couple of lectures a day and the odd shift a week.

We are involved in a frenzied self-improvement exercise. With the help of lecturers and tutors, we are teaching ourselves how to think better, how to create beautiful things, how to improve the world we live in. We are learning for ourselves; not sitting at a desk for others.

The University is entering a new era: after years of construction, the Hub is finished. We have a new Vice-Chancellor ready to usher in a new Victoria.

In short: our generation is the best one yet. We’re the ones with the right ideas. The old guard are mere placeholders until we take over.

This might all just be youthful arrogance – global warming presents a serious challenge; poverty and inequality do too. We should be worried. But the point is this: we are young. Too young to be bitching and moaning and grumpy and jaded. That’s what middle age is for. We need to have faith that we will meet these challenges.

Salient this year is going to embody that feeling of playful optimism. Pessimism is passé. We want Salient to be a beautiful paper that captures the positive ethos of 2014. We want to provoke thought and discussion about the issues of our time. But we also want to remember not to take ourselves too seriously: to remember that our views and understanding of the world might change with every new idea we hear and every new person we meet. That’s what separates us from our parents: understanding that one of the best things you can do is be wrong.

In 40 years, when we’re thinking, “God, 2014 was a great year”, we will look back at Salient and remember exactly how amazing it was to be a student in these exciting times.



Duncan & Cam

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