The Spike or Victoria University College Review
Some Experiences of a New Student
Some Experiences of a New Student
"When the rain raineth and the goose winketh,
Little wots the gosling what the goose thinketh."
I am one of those rather patronised, much-molested beings known as the "new" students, and though too shy and silent to give personal expression to my views before the curious College public. I feel that there are many things in need of attention, and therefore take this means to air my grievances.
In commencement, I would warn the men readers of this worthy paper that my article will doubtless be of small interest to them, for the simple reason that I am page 25 a girl student and know but little of the deeds and customs of my superior co-worker—man. Therefore, to all those that reach this point and find themselves uninterested, I would offer Mr. Thackeray's advice: "Lay down the hook and buy something else"; and having thus assured myself that only a select few will trouble to proceed further with me, I feel more confidence and freedom to make my proclamations.
My first experience of College life was a welcoming function—an afternoon tea—where I met the women secretaries of all kinds of associations and societies, and found myself besieged with invitations (nay, petitions) to join the various College clubs. Need I say that I was flattered? Such personal attention was sure evidence that my fame (even in spheres where I had never walked) had long ago reached Victoria College and that everyone was anxious to profit by my talents.
A short time after this I attended my second College function another welcome, this time in the evening. Here I shyly retired into a corner and observed the M's.C. dashing wildly to converse among themselves and leaving groups of frightened new students to make each others' acquaintance as best they might. Somewhere in the background a girl politely fainted and relieved the monotony of things. How I loved that girl! After that the evening passed more merrily until the time for dancing came. Just before supper I was granted an insight into the method of managing these functions. As I stood secluded in my corner, an official approached a serious-looking individual and said haughtily, "Supper isn't quite ready, so you can recite if you like." For myself I shouldn't have liked at all, but the man merely bowed politely and made his way to the platform as though quite accustomed to such treatment.
The dance itself was very exciting. Everyone of the old students seemed bent upon self-sacrifice. Not once, but many times, when a man invited a girl to dance with him she looked up sadly, smiled, and, glancing at me, said: "I'd love to, but it's the new students' turn to-night, you know. Come and let me introduce you to that shy little thing over there," and the "shy little thing" found herself presented as Miss "Er" and whirled across the room on the arm of a very much bored (and still more boring) partner, while the self-sacrificing lady herself gaily swung away with the best dancer in the room.page 26
During the next week I attended the first meeting of the Women's Debating Society—a truly funny performance. The motion was. "That the women students of Victoria College do not make the best use of the opportunities afforded by a University training." and the meeting proved to be no more nor less than a series of lectures as to the duty of a new student. We were abused for our lack of College spirit, and for forcing club secretaries to descend to the low levels of flattery and oiliness. In fact, we were even given a detailed list of one member's accomplishments in the way of cooking and housekeeping, which was intended to emphasise the fact that there is time for all things, even though one belongs to every College club. At last there rose up the suffragette to defend the poor new students. She, in forcible language and strident tones, announced that the New Zealand Government did not pay its millions in order to supply women students with dances and football (she meant hockey) clubs. In her opinion there were plenty of amusements to be had outside the College walls, and such a thing as spirit was unnecessary in a University. I am told that a certain man student has politely said with respect to this debate that in his opinion the women of Victoria College have decidedly made the best of their opportunities, if one may judge from the engagement list, but to me it seems impossible that a mere man could ever be considered as an "opportunity."
Someone has suggested that the subject for a future Women's debate should be, "All men are brutes," and that this cynic be invited to act as judge. In any ease, I cannot see why he should object to the engagement list when the C.U. handbook so pointedly states on one page that no one should shirk the question the Union deals with, and on the following page cordially invites everyone to go to Stewart Dawson's for engagement rings.
I have had a goodly number of experiences besides those related, but most of them. I think, are safer in my own keeping. Moreover, I am at present very busily engaged in writing an excellent capping farce, entitled. "The Foibles of the Foolish, or, Mr. Teddy's Daniel Bear," describing the attempts of some Professors and students to become popular, and, therefore, as you may judge, oh Reader, my time is rather limited.