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The art of crying on campus

Remember all the USyd students who have sat there before you and also wallowed, thinking, like you, that their sadness was bigger than everyone else’s.

Art by Ellie Stephenson.

There is something deliciously vain about wallowing. 

To luxuriate in sadness might feel indulgent and unethical, like having a crush just for the sake of it. You watch mascara-stained tears streak your face in the mirror. You poeticise the fall of rain against a bus window. You write sad words in your notes app, a reminder for another day of your superior emotional depth. 

Student life is so patterned with drama that it’s essential to know what locations at USyd are best for coaxing out one’s tears. I, for one, am a big fan of wallowing. It is an art, and all art needs a good background. 

A good wallowing location must be semi-private. An oblique sense of the ‘outside world’ can reinforce just how alone you are, intensifying the drama of it all; blatant publicity, however, could be quite humiliating. Trying to wallow somewhere where you are bound to bump into every person you’ve ever met at USyd since first year in the space of 15 minutes (see: Courtyard Cafe) is simply social suicide.  

For this reason, I’d recommend ‘weeping discreetly on levels 6-8 of Fisher Library’. Positioned at a desk by the windows that overlook the Quad, the distant, untouchable beauty of its green lawn and gothic architecture will contrast wonderfully with your pit-like misery. Better still, abandoning the desks, you might curl up against the spines of tragedy-riddled histories and literature, imagining yourself as a main character whose suffering is felt by sympathetic readers. 

If libraries aren’t your thing, you might prefer ‘feeling depressed in the shade of Victoria Park’. Some afternoons, I have sat below the bay figs and silently cried. The slant of sunlight through the leaves will shape your sadness into poetry, while the hum of traffic down Parramatta Road will be a painful reminder of your own stagnant loneliness as the world carries on. 

Finally, feeling a wave of sadness coming on when you’re leaving uni can also be optimised. My personal favourite, ‘crying on the bus home beneath a face mask’, is arguably the most convenient, adaptable way to wallow. The face mask is, of course, key to fulfilling the ‘semi-private’ criteria. Imagine: you get on the 461X and feel the urge to cry after a long, mediocre day. You secure a window seat at the back, plug in your grubby wired earphones, and amp up ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version)’, hoping the man on his phone behind you can’t hear it. Slowly, your tears begin to fall, blurring the shitty shop fronts on Parramatta Road. No one bats an eye.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Hopefully, though, it will make for less stressful, more decadent wallowing when you’re out-and-about on campus. 

And when you are feeling the true depths of your misery, remember all the USyd students who have sat there before you and also wallowed, thinking, like you, that their sadness was bigger than everyone else’s. Let that comfort you—but not too much.

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