A Goodbye Story to OPUS & the University of Newcastle
It was mid-year 2016 that I moved to Newcastle to begin studying Arts at the University of Newcastle. I lived on campus (realised I hated living on campus), met some friends (stayed in touch with only one), and learnt that what I really wanted to study was Writing and Publishing (instead of English and Writing). So, after one semester, I transferred into Creative Industries, the brand-new degree that ‘offered it all’.
In hindsight, it really did offer just that.
In the span of just five years, I have accomplished so much more than I could have ever imagined when I graduated high-school and prepared for the next phase of my education. I have successfully ascertained not one, but two degrees. I have followed my dream of becoming a published author by self-publishing my debut novel, “Once We Were”. I have discovered new passions, such as feature writing and marketing. Furthermore, during this time I learnt skills I would never have thought a writer would need, but now, having just completed my postgraduate studies, I can see how all these skills and knowledge have benefited my career as a freelance writer and indie author, which, in turn, has provided me with valuable knowledge for managing my small business as a writer. This same expertise allowed me to successfully establish, run, and manage two clubs on campus during my time at Newcastle, as well as obtain several roles within and outside of the university community.
If you had asked me when during my first semester at uni where I would in five years, I never would have dreamt of having been so involved in the uni community as I had become, nor would I have thought myself capable of achieving everything that I have. In fact, a key part of my journey in becoming an emerging writer and creative industries professional began here at OPUS, the uni's longest-running student media outlet of 50+ years (and only hard copy magazine).
I was a contributing writer for OPUS since February 2018 (when Opus was under NUSA), when I submitted my first article to then Media Officer Luce Regan. My piece was titled “Creative Industries: My Experience” in response to a callout for students in the one-year-old Bachelor of Creative Industries program to share their stories. It was my first print article with the organisation (and ever), printed in the old newspaper-format. I can still recall the feeling of the fresh ink on the paper rubbing onto my skin whenever I picked it up.
Over the course of this period, I have published more than 20 pieces with OPUS, in both print and online formats. I have watched the organisation evolve with time, transforming formats and media officers. I was witness to the end of OPUS with NUSA as it folded, and witness of the rebirth of OPUS with UNSA. I have written book reviews, club spotlights, blog series, creative pieces, feature articles, and much more whilst a student at the University of Newcastle. I even volunteered as their PR Officer for some time. As we joked at my final OPUS meeting, I was the longest-standing member of the team.
OPUS was the place where I began to learn about student media and non-fiction writing styles. It gave me a space to experiment and learn without judgement. Most of all, it helped me discover what styles and topics of writing I enjoyed and disliked.
So here I am, nearly three and a half years later with OPUS, writing my very last story for the student media publication that began my feature writing career. Both it and my time at University of Newcastle has been one hell of a wild ride, one that I am going to miss dearly. But all good things must come to end. As such, I am ready to move forward with all the knowledge these experiences have taught me and step into this next chapter of my life.