Big City Life by Seanne Inkpen

My big city adventure began early on a Friday morning.

My alarm sounded at 4am and I tumbled out of bed, still weary and most definitely still drunk from my arrival home just two hours prior.

My bad.

Nonetheless, I donned a sober face and went to the kitchen to eat my last ever Canberran breakfast on my last ever day in Canberra.

As I ate, I thought and wondered what people remember most about their entire ‘moving out’ experience.

I always assumed that people formed a montage of all their memories in their mind with Green Day’s ‘Time Of Your Life’ playing in the background, or as the car drove past the horizon they’d stare out the window all dramatic-like with a single tear rolling down their cheek.

You know, normal stuff like that. However, looking back on the mere three weeks that I’ve been in the big apple of Australia, I believe my experience can be sufficiently summarised by three things, all conveniently beginning with the letter B – bills, big changes and bags.

Bills. If anybody had said this word to me three weeks earlier, you may as well have been speaking in Parseltongue.

My brand new apartment came with loads of bills, grown up responsibilities, and having to fend for myself.

The bills included connecting utilities such as gas, which I may or may not have disregarded. Needless to say, a very cold shower was had.

Again: my bad.

Starting everything afresh allowed me to fathom just how much we may take for granted when living at home.

I came from the most delightful, magical place where I was under the illusion that washing machines already came with the house, where functionalities just existed and where food re-spawned once you ran out.

Like in a weird, creepy Call of Doom way.

Thankfully, it’s given me a heightened perspective on things.

My respect for parents has completely intensified and it has also emphasised the importance of a budget – hence beginning Operation Stingy: Poor University Student Edition.

This begins with the acknowledgement that Mi Goreng is your friend, showers over four minutes are out, and that you must learn to walk away from the pair of jeans you’d literally been staring at for ten minutes.

A big change that I’ve had to accept is the wonderful world of public transport.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve come from a city where you can drive from one side to the other in half an hour, maybe it’s the joy of no longer having to fork out all your shrapnel for parking, or maybe it’s just because I haven’t grown up with it.

I actually love how convenient the public transport is in Melbourne.

What’s not to love?

From its accessibility to the occasional tram crazies (bless their cotton socks), I really do love everything about it – well, at least for now.

Another adjustment has been attempting to settle back into a school routine.

This means waking up earlier than 2pm so you can attend lectures, managing study times and of course maintaining a social life.

As a first year it’s like you’re given a fresh start, so thankfully everybody else is in the same boat regardless of which state you hail from.

Finally, bags. Nothing has made me feel like more of an alien than the face I received when I asked “How much for the plastic bag?” In Canberra, plastic bags are either nonexistent or 15 cents a pop at some local supermarkets.

And ain’t nobody got time for that.

Looking back on the couple of weeks that I’ve been here, and noting the past few experiences I’ve had (the beginning of independence and university life, free plastic bags, trams, green blobs on buildings and more free plastic bags) I’m glad this is the city I’ve chosen to move to.

Seanne Inkpen


Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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