Listen: Garrick Lyte-Mason in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty
First times are important. We mark a child’s first tooth, first step and first day of school. University and me introduces a young man, Garrick Lyte-Mason, who is experiencing university for the first time. A personable and enthusiastic young man, Garrick attended a Christian school. At university he is moving away from the structured regime of what, when and how to study of his school days. Garrick is also meeting the challenge of asserting his identity as a Christian in a secular environment.
‘Life and Me’ on Open House
Open House likes to look at life through the lens of faith and point to hope. Human stories of life experiences are an important part of what we do. This year we are presenting a series of interviews about life events. In the ‘Life and Me’ series we will be talking about ‘firsts’ such as in this story about experiencing university for the first time.
Relationships will be at the centre of many of the interviews. Ordinary people will share their first experience of life events like marriage, parenting, and career. The ‘Life and Me’ series will also explore times of stress and grieving and how people overcome failures. Open House will be examining how people come to faith and how faith comforts and supports us when times are tough. Our aim is to show the way faith can inspire and uplift at all stages of life.
Holding on to mum’s leg and crying
Garrick Lyte-Mason is lean and tall with a wide smile to match his sunny personality. Born in South Africa, he has vivid memories of his first day at school, “It was nerve wracking being seperated from mum. I think, more than anything, I remember holding onto mum’s leg and crying. ‘ Garrick recalls.
Now in his first semester of a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Human biology he admits going to the first day at unis was a bit daunting “I didn’t have anyone to hold on to and cry” he jokes. Overall the experience has been good “There was a bit of fear and nervousness but it was more excitment than fear” Garrick says.
Uni is more work than play
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Spent four months dreaming of freedom
Garrick admits that the College life portrayed in movies is not the reality. ” I loved school, but was excited to leave. I spent four months dreaming of the freedom of a university life of studying and partying” he says. In fact, after almost a semester at University he has found study has outweighed the partying.
Studying for a science degree, majoring in human biology has been an eye opener for Garrick. “So far the University experience has been far less exciting than I imagined. There is a lot more work than I expected. That’s not a bad thing but at the moment there is more work than play.” That is hardly surprising when you have to crack the books for subjects like anatomy molecular chemistry and statistics.
School gives you a lot of help
School was easier
Attending a Christian school close to his home meant the Garrick was mixing with local school students of very similar background. He loved school and did well but was happy to leave when the HSC was done. One thing that has surprised him is understanding just how much schools do to help pupils learn and study.
“At uni the lack of structure means that I found exams more difficult. There are no teachers influencing me and, at least for me, that non compulsiveness is a bit of a challenge. It was all on me to sort out my own study.” says Garrick who recently did his half semester exams.
Approach people with kindness and love
Learning about new people
Meeting and understanding his fellow students is something Garrick has learnt to enjoy. “At high school you are all at the same stage and same geographic area. At uni I sit next to an older American guy who want to be a paramedic. There are people in my classes from Jamaica and from Sweden and some of them are older than me.” Garrick explains.
He has found meeting people of different ages and ethnic backgrounds an interesting experience and says his Christian background helps him engage with them. “Christianity has taught me to love and respect and be kind to people. You can see where they are in their walk with Christ, and if you are kind and decent in recieving who people are, they are too.” he says.
People have been gentle and kind
Your language indicates your faith
Overall, he says he feels blessed “Probably one struggle has been to show my faith in conversation, to bring up the topic of God. The language you use indicates your faith. People soon realise you have different perspective or viewpoint because of your Christian beliefs. So far so good. People have been gentle … and kind in asking questions.” according to Garrick.
Talk to new people
Advice to Year 12 students
Does he have advice for current year 12 students? “Prepare is the biggest advice I could give. Whatever situation or environment you’re in, prepare.” he says.
“Maybe at school or church you could look to strike up a conversation. Talk to a teacher or a student or a peer that you haven’t really spoken to before. At church talk with someone you have seen around but haven’t really spoken to before to explore different backgrounds. It will be good and it will make you more comfortable.” says Garrick.
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