Friday, 19 April 2013

Street Talk: Casey The Uni Student.

Today's Street Talk is brought to you by the gorgeous Stacey from Veggie Mama. She's a beautiful woman; married to a super cool guy, they have two gorgeous baby girls, she's a vegetarian and such a soft soul. Thanks Stacey for today's post. Peace. Linda x


I've always found going up to strangers and talking to them really rather difficult. It was one of the things I struggled with the most as a journalist. It's no easy feat to find a random person and get them to open up to you, but the more I did it the more I realised people were friendlier than I gave them credit for. It never got any easier though, I just got better at ignoring the anxiety. For this Street Talk I seriously considered chickening out - finding someone I already knew and interviewing them. But that's just silly. Eden wouldn't chicken out.

Casey is 22 years old. I spot her sitting under the shade of the library as I make my way around looking for someone to chat to. Her smooth, unlined face was peering into a laptop screen and I knew it was her to whom I had to speak. I am surrounded by young people at my work, and I find them endlessly fascinating - they are right on that brink of adulthood before all the love, loss, mistakes, joy and heartbreak that await them. They're fired up, they're having fun, they're often hungover. They work hard and they play hard. They've got plans and goals and all the time in the world to achieve them. I was looking for the youngest face in the crowd.

I ask what she's studying and if she knows what she wants to do when she graduates. A Bachelor of Business she tells me, with a major in International Business. She doesn't know what she wants to do with that degree, what kind of job she wants to do.

"It's gotta be pretty useful though, lots of businesses are international now."

But when I tell her this interview is for a blog, her eyes light up. She herself has a blog, a Tumblr where she deconstructs the characters of television programs in her spare time. She has a small bunch of friends that she chats to about it online and she is passionate about delving into the psychology of characterisation and how that is portrayed on screen. I ask why she doesn't study in this area and she said she tried, but being graded took a lot of the shine off the joy she got from doing it purely out of interest. There's a difference between doing it, and doing it because you have to, she tells me.

Casey is going to take some time off after uni, and live in Canada for a year. She's working hard now to save enough money to go at the end of next semester. She said she and her best friend travelled to North America last year for six months, and when she stepped foot in Vancouver she knew she didn't want to leave. Travel is her number-one love and she tells me tales of where she's been and where she wants to go.

"Travel is like, my thing, you know? I want to revisit Europe, I want to go to Scotland and Ireland. I'm so fascinated by ancient history, it was the only thing in school that I was really interested in."

I ask her what she would study if she was free to choose anything in the world. Straight up, she says: "English. Studying characterisation in books and on tv and in movies. I would love that." She then tells me that theatrical makeup is something she'd like to pursue, if it didn't have such a shallow pool of available jobs. She's into fantasy, both books and movies, and when I offer "like Lord of the Rings?" she doesn't laugh at my narrow knowledge, she just nods enthusiastically. She gets a lot of recommendations from her brother, who likes the genre, so she finds she reads a lot of books geared for a male audience.

Would she like to write a book? I ask. The short answer is no. The long answer is a recommendation - to read The Wheel of Time, a series of 15 epic fantasy novels by Robert Jordan. Her genuine thrill at the complexity and detail of the world created solely for a set of fiction books is contagious – I dutifully write down the title. But it’s also an explanation: if writing this deeply is what is required to publish a book, then she doesn’t have the time or the willpower.

Given she’s studying something she will easily find a job in, rather that what makes her heart sing, I asked her what is her definition of success.

“Just enjoying life. I wouldn’t base success on what you do, but how much you enjoy it. I feel that uni isn’t what people make it out to be, that if you don’t do it you’re stupid. I just want to be happy, I don’t think it’s important to be worried about reaching certain levels to become an adult.

I ask if she feels like an adult yet and she half-grimaces, so I continue: “Still mostly feel like a kid?”

“Still a bit like a kid, yeah. I haven’t moved out of home, I mean I buy my own groceries, but even the groceries show how much of a kid I am. Last time I just bought celery, carrot sticks and a carton of Pepsi Max.”

But when she does feel adult enough she’d like a husband. Not too sure on children herself just yet, but she’d love a house full of pets.

“Yeah, lots of animals, dogs everywhere.”

I see her looking at her watch, she has a group meeting for an assignment in a couple of minutes and I don’t want to keep her any longer. Just as I’m about to leave, she tells me her dad hates travel.

“He thinks it’s such a waste of money, that I’m wasting my money going overseas. I mean, he’ll travel in Australia, but he won’t go anywhere else.

Last year he went to Bali and I was so surprised. I asked him why he went, and he just said because his friend wanted to go, but he wouldn’t go back.

I’m addicted, imagine not going to Rome and seeing the ancient architecture of it, the Colosseum? He just doesn’t understand the point of it.”

Her pretty face is earnestly confused. To her, travel is as necessary as breathing and she is mystified as to why anyone wouldn’t go if they had the chance. I nod, amused at her enthusiasm and tell her I agree. Old people can be so stuffy.


Friday Street Talk is an unfolding art project. I'm so grateful and blown away that people say yes to talking with me, trusting me with some snippets of who they are. 

Previous Street talks:

1. Noelene the Young
2. Megan the Mouse
3. Harpal the Australian
4. Darren the Artist
5. Jo the Interesting
6. John the Telstra Guy 
7. Michael the Photographer
8. Peg the Lady
9. Jeff the Preacher Man
10. Andres the Cobbler
11. Honey the Prostitute
12. Mark the Masseur
13. You the Blog Reader

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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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