Different place – same old problems

By Marcus Wilson 07/05/2012 2

I arrived in Sydney yesterday. I’m based at the University of Sydney for the next two weeks while on study leave. My first morning here was pretty-well taken up by walking round getting administrative things done like getting a key to my office and getting a computer account and internet connection for my laptop.

It was very reminiscent of a day a few years ago when a new PhD student in our research group turned up at Waikato and needed to get keys, out-of-hours-access card, library card, computer account, etc etc. I spent half the day taking her around the campus. Now at Waikato, this problem should now be much diminished by our student centre in the library building. A lot of the administrative things new students need to do are now located in one place. That’s logic for you. Does it work? I’ll have to track down a few new students when I get back and interrogate them.

Now, at Sydney this morning, in order to get a key for my office in the Physics building I had to walk close to a kilometre, through the campus, across a main road, to the security office, which for some reason is located right on the periphery of the campus. Apparently, all keys are issued centrally – departments don’t issue keys for their own buildings. Then I had to walk back again. An easy experience? Hardly. At least getting the computer access could be done through the physics department. One positive thing from the trip, however, was that I’ve now located the swimming pool, which is large and indoor and cheap and available to short-term visitors like me and open early morning. Yay.



2 Responses to “Different place – same old problems”

  • The ‘useful things in obscure places on campus’ problem can sometimes be due to the difference between ‘evolved’ campuses (like Otago University) and ‘purpose-built’ campuses (like Canterbury University); although Otago is getting better, even if it’s still scattered across half of Dunedin.

  • Yes, it’s always interesting visiting other universities to see how they have developed and spread. The worst I’ve seen for seemingly unorganised growth has to be Cambridge – where I was as an undergraduate. It takes about three years before you are beginning to feel that you know where everything is – then it’s time to leave. Even the university bookshop, Heffers, was located in five different places – and not next-door to each other – where you had to go depended on what kind of thing you wanted to buy (text book, fiction, stationery, music, etc). Still, I suppose if you’re not smart enough to cope with that problem, you are probably not smart enough to be there.

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