Jul 27, 2016

Words To Live By. Student Daze.


President and First Lady Obama, I will miss you terribly come November 8 from halfway across the world here in Sydney.....  


Your collective eloquence, intelligence, empathy and humanity never cease to both inspire as well as make me a good, long hard look at myself.

Today's piece of Obama wisdom comes by way of a clip I saw of Michelle Obama's last commencement speech from June of this year.  She gave this speech at the City College of New York and a full transcript can be found here.  It was a dignified, inspiring and fitting tribute to the graduating class.  It acknowledged the many and sometimes unspeakable challenges that the students had overcome to get to where they were on graduation day and it also, sadly, confronted the reality that many of these challenges as they relate to race and socioeconomic class would continue to be a force in their futures.

But the First Lady also offered hope of a better, stronger and more united future for the America that these young people would go on to build.  The notion that they should use their success to help others  to better themselves and that unity rather than wall building (take that, Mr Trump) is the way forward for the country they love so much.

For me, the most moving comments of her speech are those contained in the clip and more specifically the following quote that contains words to live by.  

You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage.  Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages. 
Michelle Obama, June 3 2016, New York

Every once in a while, your forty something working mum self needs a day to sit back to think, write and be self indulgent.  With my thinking part of the day well covered by reading Michelle Obama's speech, I then spent the rest of my alone time at the library reliving my glorious student days.

Geeze, they were good and simple times.  Admittedly, a world away from those of the graduating class of City College who learned life's sometimes harsh lessons years before I would ever be taught them.

Clicking away at a lap top, reading some articles, scrolling through your social media, taking some notes, committing bits and pieces to memory all whilst daydreaming about the weekend / what you'd do with your first real pay cheque / your next study break of the day.  Besides study materials, things like mints, lip balm, lip colour, a hot drink in an insulated flask, snacks and a change of clothes were all necessary things to mule from home to the library for a big day of student-ing.  Because as we all well know, actual studying is only a fraction of what goes on during a day at the library as a uni student.

Rose tinted glasses off, it was time to return to my fortysomething working mum reality which may have more wrinkles, saggy bits and responsibilities than my student life reality but it also has some significant advantages attached to it.

First up being a bit of disposable income with which one can purchase care packages from Mecca Cosmetica.  I bought myself some new tinted moisturiser and primer by hourglass today and I'm going to keep my new things in their wrapping until I either run out of what I'm currently using or I have a day that even chocolate can't fix.

And secondly, with age and wrinkles comes self awareness, confidence and love.  It's been an interesting few months as a mother for me in that I'm starting to feel more comfortable in losing my mummy self for a few hours every now and then for a night out with girlfriends and workmates.  A night out every once in a while is a logistical challenge at times but the few hours of adult time it creates for me make it all worthwhile.  But I always look forward to coming home, slipping off those heels and shrugging back into my mum clothes.

What do you remember of student life?  Am I the only person who daydreams of the good and simple times they were (relatively speaking...).


  1. Mobama putting it down with Missy Elliot was EVERYTHING!

  2. I had no money as a student. Not much confidence either, nor any good clothes. Now I have all 3.

  3. My student days were awkward and yet I wouldn't change them, made me who I am today and I think with perspective it's easily to look at things differently. The workload I definitely don't view any differently though - I'm in no rush to go back to uni!

  4. Love Michelle Obamas words and wholeheartedly agree. The school of hard knocks provides rich lessons! Loved my student days, but loved my thirties even more when confidence and real (self) love began. I see we have mutual cosmetics interests - revlon lip butters and hourglass tinted moisturiser! Two of my longstanding girlfriends and I have monthly "meetings" at a local wine bar. 2 is a quorum ;). It's always the same time, same place and we set the next months date before we leave. Often we drag our tired selves to get there, but know the couple of hours of belly laughing, venting and sharing fills us up enough to head back to our work mum lives with a spring in our steps.

  5. It's going to be genuinely sad when the Obamas leave, even though I'm not American and have only visited once, I'm going to feel a proper sense of loss. And slight panic when the words Donald Trump and President are mentioned anywhere near each other.

    My student days were great but I don't think I'd cope if I had to go back. I no longer find it acceptable to have to play hopscotch over slugs on the kitchen floor if I want to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.


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