words Isabelle Raven
My name is Isaac Solomon, and I am the USASA President for 2022. What a crazy couple of years it has been. At the beginning of O-week in 2019, terms like ‘pandemic’, ‘social-distancing’ and ‘quarantine’ were foreign to many of us. The academic year had just begun, and hundreds of people flooded into UniSA to start the next stage of their lives, myself included. Two weeks later, our new lives would be thrown into complete turmoil by the first of many lockdowns.
The way we have responded to this change and adapted over the past two years is a testament to just how resilient we can be as students. The role of USASA in assisting students during this time cannot be understated, and that is one of the reasons I decided to run for USASA President.
USASA offers a range of services to students. One of the most successful services we have offered through the pandemic is our financial counselling and emergency grant program, which disbursed over $350,000 in financial support, direct to students. Our financial counselling service also supported students in accessing the University Hardship program, which included a $10 million fund for those doing it tough during the pandemic. Supplementary to our services, our friendly student reps are always here to help you and we’re only ever an email away.
As we enter 2022, there is still much work to be done as we recover from the pandemic, and a key focus of our USASA board in 2022, will be to reinvigorate life on campus.
One thing that is extremely unique about UniSA is our vibrant social life fostered through our many clubs and societies. Our clubs go a long way towards enhancing campus culture by hosting many events, get-togethers and competitions throughout the year. For all new students coming to UniSA in 2022, I would recommend checking out our clubs on the USASA website—there really is something for everyone.
In addition to improving life on campus, it is important to recognise the growing online space we have at UniSA. Improving the online experience for students on both an academic and social level is key to our mission of creating a positive university environment for every student.
As President, my theme for 2022 will be reconnecting. It’s been a strange couple of years, and one of the things we’ve missed most is connecting with others. Fostering a strong campus culture where everyone can feel safe and included, both in-person and online, is central to our vision as student representatives.
CONSTANTLY BEING CRITICISED FOR NOT ADHERING TO THE TOXIC & UNATTAINABLE BEAUTY STANDARDS OF THE CAPITALISTIC SOCIETY WE RESIDE IN. LEGISLATIONS CONCERNING MY REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ARE BEING MADE BY THOSE WHO WILL NEVER BE AFFECTED BY THEM. MY BARE CHEST DEEMED ‘OFFENSIVE’ AND MY BODY INNATELY ‘SEXUAL’.
HOW CAN I FEEL LIKE I’M LIVING MY OWN LIFE & MAKING MY OWN DECISIONS WHEN I’VE BEEN TRAPPED BY THE FOUR WALLS OF A BOX BUILT BY THE PEOPLE PROFITING OFF THE INSECURITIES THEY HAVE INGRAINED IN MY BRAIN? MAKE. IT. MAKE. SENSE.
At times, it felt like I was living a life heavily navigated by oppressive societal constructs that my own vision and consciousness felt cancelled when confronted with decisions, as if they were meant to conform to a script of sorts. My own thoughts were polluted by harsh, self-criticising ruminations to distinguish if I actually believed them, myself or if it was society coercing me into a marred, distorted frame of mind.
That’s how we’ve been taught: boys will be boys, but not girls will be girls. We have been explained, pressed and pushed into the belief that there are only two roles, and you need to act accordingly to just one. We have been taught that the life we see on social media is the standard we must reach… and if we don’t?
How can we break these habits that have travelled with us since the day someone told us we needed to change the one thing about us that we couldn’t?