Meet the Editors: Our most cringeworthy and horrifying university experiences


The 2018 Grapeshot team is officially in action, with our first issue, X, flying off our O-Week stall RIGHT NOW. (It’ll be on stands next week for new and returning students).

Our editors and designers have taken over the reins as Grapeshot goes into its 10th year as a student publication. If you’d like to get your writing, photograph or illustration published on luscious matte pages, hit us up at, like our Facebook page or join our group, where we post info about how to contribute.

And without further ado, here are the most cringeworthy experiences the Grapey team have experienced at uni – from fraught journeys across the lake in a makeshift raft to spurned lovers and heartbreaking affairs. We share our stories in the hopes that you will avoid repeating our mistakes.

Angus Dalton – Editor-in-Chief

I went into my first university tutorial ever as a lanky, sweaty 17-year-old as wide-eyed as a giant squid and VERY excited. It was a lit unit (as in literature, not a millennial term for something excellent) and I was ready to get my geek on and make some new friends.

I was like five minutes late and when I got to the tute room almost every seat was full, but there was this girl sitting by herself at an empty table at the front, so I grabbed a chair and pulled it over, plonked down and introduced myself.

My fellow student was AMAZING. We had a conversation that spanned a couple of minutes about the dissertation she was writing about women in Lord of the Rings (this should’ve been a red flag), and she was ridiculously articulate. I was completely intimidated and in awe – is this what every student at uni was like? She was a charismatic, worldly genius and I was a loser with no critical thinking skills who was about to whore myself out to be experimented on by boffins at the Hearing Hub for 20 bucks so I could afford train tickets.

As our conversation drew to a close, I was super happy to have made a good impression on the student who seemed like the most intelligent, cool and stylish person in the room. Then she turned to the class.

‘Hi everyone, welcome to Approaches to English Literature!’

FECK. I’d parked myself on the tutor’s desk, chatting to her while everyone else made friends with fellow first years instead of accidentally becoming the biggest teacher’s pet in the entire world. I slunk to the back of the class and my ears burned until I could leave and contemplate never returning to uni again. #SocialSuicide

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Sarah Joseph – Deputy Editor

I lived on campus my first year, at a college that will remain unnamed (of the whole two of them). Part of the O-Week experience was being part of a group and doing scavenger hunt where we had to take photos doing various things across the city. Highlights included dancing with the Sunrise Cash-Cow and watching people jump into the harbour next to the opera house, then getting yelled at by security. Points were compiled based on how many people in your group participated in this activity, as well as how little clothing you were wearing (these photos were later stored on a private Facebook group, but that’s another story).

The night before the scavenger hunt, we were given a list of activities to do around the university campus. My group and I set off into the dark summer night and posed half dressed with various creepy statues around campus. I thought that was the most traumatic thing that could happen to me, but I was very very wrong. I hadn’t actually looked at the list of things we were meant to be doing, so as we approached the lake, yes… that lake, you can see why I became concerned.

We were told we had to build a raft with oil barrels which were laying on the grass and we had to ferry every single group member across the lake and back. Obviously, this is impossible. We all knew this, yet we couldn’t let the team who was winning (due to some very keen to get their kit off lads) get the best of us.

So yes, readers, I attempted to swim my way across that rancid, muddy, definitely filled with flesh eating bacteria lake, because obviously the rafts didn’t work. And yes, there is photographic evidence out there somewhere. It was disgusting, stunk and I had to wash my clothes three times before the mud came out. We were also chased away after this by campus security who tried to collect our student cards.

Moral of the story children, I probably contracted multiple diseases from that. Please don’t ever follow in my footsteps.

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Erin Christie – Features Editor

After transferring from the nonsensical structure of UTS – a city campus that spans two suburbs and makes no sense to an average Westie girl – Macquarie seemed like a freakishly accessible campus. It has a designated border, and limited entries and exits. Getting lost, while possible, is a much less scarier feat than getting lost somewhere between Pyrmont, Ultimo and the ABC studios. I saw this a an absolute blessing, until the beginning of my second semester, when I realised it made running into certain people somewhat inevitable.

After a failed summer fling and a dumping via text, I’d decided I was happy to never see this certain wanker again. Macquarie had other ideas. I saw him heating up his food in the now-demolished atrium, turned and swiftly walked back up the stairs, refusing to stop until I’d pretty much hit Y3A. I caught him walking towards me as I walked from one class to the next, I took a sneaky left turn and headed into the bushes. And when we were headed for collision in the library, I spun on my heel and sprinted into the section with the books they don’t let you take off campus (what’s that called again?). For some reason, an alarm went off, but seeing my expression of utter panic, the attendant let me through. I sat in the stacks for upwards of an hour, chillin’.

I haven’t seen him too much since, leading me to believe he’s dropped out. However, I can’t help but think this might have been avoidable if campus had spanned two suburbs.

Nathaniel Keesing – Regulars Editor

If you’re new here, you may not know that Macquarie University used to be two different campuses. I used to study at the black sheep of the family, the Macquarie City Campus at Wynyard years ago (please don’t try to guess how old I am) and it was really quaint there. It was a small and intimate setting, so everyone pretty much knew everyone.

But there was one person I wanted to know the most. Walking past reception every morning I would spot an administrator far back in the office. It was instant crush mode. But I wasn’t about to commit what is now known as a Barny Joycie, and resigned to my fate of never becoming star crossed lovers.

My mistake was to show my “research” (AKA faceyB stalking) to my supposed friends. They grabbed my phone and sent him a message. I was shook. Shooketh would be the technical term. You can’t force love, it doesn’t work that way! I grabbed my phone back and looked in horror what they had written.

“I love you”.

My soul died right there and then. I wanted to hide and never appear in public again. It was a joke and a crush that went too far, and I was terrified I would be kicked out. I immediately blocked him and spent the rest of the year in complete fear that he knew. I only hope he found true love in the end. If not, call me ;)

Max Lewis – Online Editor

I already inadvertently talked about my worst uni experience where my op-shop shoes disintegrated on the morning of a packed uni day, so instead I’ll talk about literally every speech or presentation I’ve ever done.

They all start the same; this’ll be different, I’ll turn it around, I’ll overcome the social anxiety that has plagued me for years. I’ll be that bitch that does the speech that everyone laughs at and everyone is super jealous of.

In reality, I’m a sweaty, red faced mess. I stutter. Suddenly all I can think about is my slight lisp. I refuse to make eye contact with the audience. My tutor sighs and gives me a credit. I dissociate the entire ordeal and, at the end of it, invent a reality where it went better than it actually did and, subsequently, repress it, leading to the delusion that I’m actually good at public speaking. Lather, rinse, repeat.

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Mariah Hanna – News Team

My most traumatic experience seems to happen every semester when I scour my timetable, praying to whoever a girl’s gotta pray to that I won’t have any classes at 10 Hadenfeld Ave, formerly known as Y3A. Alas, someone is having a lol somewhere because every bloody semester that three-digit/ letter combo appears and brings a tear to my eye.

Any media student will know the feels. 10 Hadenfeld Ave is a good twenty minute walk from Macquarie University station and so far out of the way it should just be its own campus.

Some might think having a class in the far west end of campus is not the most traumatic thing that could happen to a student, but those people have probably never had to walk to Y3A through the rain, or in 30 degree heat, or while carrying 10kgs of camera equipment, or from the far east side of campus in the five minute gap between classes.

Please trust a broken media student when I say, wear comfortable shoes and just keep walking. No, you haven’t walked too far and missed the building, you’ll see it eventually.

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Ilhan Abdi – Editorial Assistant

They were size 8 maroon lace-up platform boots, shoved at the bottom of a H&M shoe shelf and they were $15. Anybody –  so like, almost everybody – who wears boots (unless you shop Kmart or something, no judgment, Kmart shoes are the BEST) and is incredibly stingy knows what an amazing deal this is. At last, I wouldn’t have to stroll around campus in my worn black boots anymore, I could spice things up one or two days a week.  I quickly swiped the pair lest someone else got their equally tight fingers on them before I did. Little did I know, they were on sale for very good reason.

The first time I wore those boots, they felt a little stiff, instead of walking normally, I could not bend my feet at all. Hm. Maybe it would loosen up after a few minutes of walking. Nope. Each time I tried to force the cheap soles to bend to my will, I felt a searing pain at the back of my ankle and a nip at my toes. I hobbled to my destination as if my feet were bound in metal.

By the time my optimism evaporated and I realised these boots would never be broken in, I was already at uni and walking up a hilly road to one of my lectures, and by the time I reached my lecture, one of my ankles was blistering and the other was bleeding profusely. That was the last time I ever wore those boots. I didn’t have the time (or the sense!) to buy bandaids or new shoes so I soldiered on as the heel of the right boot dug into my already incised ankle.I trudged around the city with a bruised heart and gory ankles for the rest of the day until I got home, and I never learned my lesson. Just last week I decided to try out another pair of cheap platforms, this time white sneakers – I really can’t resist platforms, I love being tall-passing, also I’m an idiot – and my ankles were bleeding before I even reached my local station.

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Brittney Klein – Creative Director

For some reason my mind seems to lose its ability to work when I have to do any sort of presentation. On one particular occasion it was my week to do the dreaded reading presentation and just to my luck the author of the reading was also the guest lecture. The tutorial was straight after the lecture, everyone knew everything about my reading, everyone would be aware of my mistakes and I had no time at all to save the presentation.

My anxiety was at PEAK; I could barely even think straight. Standing in front of the class, which was particularly full as it was the second week of classes and people are at the point still believing that they’re actually going to be good students this semester and go to class and not sip coffee at their local café with their friend Jane. So nervous as hell, for some reason I began my presentation by proclaiming that my 12 slide PowerPoint was going to be better than the one that the author had just presented 20 minutes ago.

I don’t know why I had said it or where it was going to get me, but I realised quick that this was probably a bad start. I stuttered my way through a 15-minute presentation, that I’m 110% certain made no sense AT ALL, impending the fail that I was bound to receive. I still can’t think about it today without my eyes welling up out of sheer embarrassment.

But guess what ladies, ya girl still passed. I think my tutor felt sorry for me and gave me a pity pass.

James Booth – Creative Director

As a Commerce student it was inevitable I would encounter the Group Assignment, an unholy creation in which one student bravely attempts to complete the entire workload in order to salvage enough marks for a passing grade. I’m sure most of you have had a bad experience with a group assessment, however strap yourselves in kiddos, because I’m about to give you a lesson on how NOT to “project” information during a presentation:

It is 8pm on Tuesday; my Business Management class primarily consists of full time workers 10-20 years older than myself, and I’m running on the 3 hours of sleep I managed to get after rewriting my group’s entire submission; I have not eaten today, so I drink a Boost Juice right before my presentation in a desperate attempt to gain nutrition; Against all odds we make it through the initial presentation, however TRAGEDY strikes during question time, as my head starts to feel a slow, warm and dizzy sensation; mango tango crush rises up my esophagus and I try and make a run for the bin; I DO NOT make it to the bin; fluorescent yellow, tropical flavoured jets of vomit are flying from my mouth onto the carpet behind the lectern. 

It seems likely that I have gotten food poisoning from the boost juice; and most definitely no blame can be drawn from the sequence of bad weekend decisions (getting plastered at Law Cruise, making a 3hr journey to ‘Groovin the Moo’ in Maitland and back the next day, and following this up with two full days of work) I had made in the lead up to the presentation.

Here are some lessons you can take from this experience; firstly make sure you take time off work when having crazy weekend shenanigans, secondly never trust anyone in your group to submit their parts to you edited, and finally that Boost Juices are pretty much just sugar and should not be substituted for real food. Good luck and Happy Group\ Assignmenting xx

Daniel Lim – Design Team

Pretty much, I was in the (now demolished) Campus Hub on a Wednesday morning and before heading to class, I decided to make a toilet stop. The campus hub toilets were weird – there’s a small room you walk through before actually entering the toilet. I opened the door and in front of me was a man projectile vomiting everywhere – all over the floor, walls and probably the ceiling too. I stood there for a second, just staring at him before closing the door. I probably should’ve helped him, but I was too shaken by the overload of senses I’d just experienced – the sound, the smell and the sight of him hunched over, spewing like a pressure hose. I pretended to look for security for like 3 seconds, but decided it was best that I headed to class (and also I still needed to go to pee).

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