Getting to the Roots
A note from our editors on the final edition for 2019, "Roots".
“Roots” is likely the most abstract theme for an edition that we have yet published here at Et Cetera, but this is not to say that it is any less relevant to the Australian student experience. Beyond the literal image of a tree grounding itself in soil, “roots” is perhaps one of the most appropriate metaphors through which to consider the almost universal young adult experience of searching for stability and growing beyond one’s beginnings.
In classic Et Cetera fashion, this is an edition about the anxieties and (occasional) triumphs of Australian student life. You will know as well as we do that your student years can feel like a mad chase after an intangible and ungraspable certainty, whether that be in exam answers or job offers. But, as Elizabeth Harris assures us, it might be time that we start looking for our roots elsewhere and revel in the unique uncertainties of student life. Another dilemma presents itself in the aspiration to find new roots elsewhere, as Henry Chen writes of the student exchange experience. However, what ultimately seems to appear in the pieces of this edition is that as students, we will constantly be caught between the process of uprooting ourselves to move forward, and a desperate desire to know who we are and what we will be; as Gene Pinter writes of the experience of attending university in one’s hometown, “there’s a messiness to becoming yourself when your roots remain; dig a little deeper and the growth blends together, underbrush framing the new”.
As we have acknowledged repeatedly in our publications, Australian student life is characterised by an anxiety about instability, not only of ourselves and our identities, but of our communities, the economy and the planet. It is a burden that we have all come to share. Despite the possible feelings of being directionless or untethered, we hope that you will find some solace in this edition and the knowledge that in this uncertain time, we are all just hoping to find our own roots.