Just Like This: In Which Uni is Just Like a Bonsoy Shortage


Caitlin is a third year Arts student, majoring in Creative Writing and English & Theatre Studies. “Just Like This” is a fortnightly-in-theory, erratic-in-practice column where she compares university to things that aren’t university.


If you are a soy milk drinker, or have friends who are soy milk drinkers, you will be very aware that we have been in the grips of a Bonsoy shortage for a little while now.

For those drinking (full cream cow milk) along at home, Bonsoy is—as far as I can gather—a sacred subset of soy milk, made especially for baristas to make coffees with. It’s made in Japan, and due to a series of earthquakes there recently, a whole heap of Melburnians are grimacing and spitting Vitasoy back into their takeaway coffee cups.


Recently, I was trailing around after a soyfriend (yes, a real word) as he went from coffee shop to shop looking for Bonsoy, and a little sick of it I suggested he try almond milk or some other alternative. He gave me a look at was even worse than his Vitasoy grimace. He knows what he likes, and apparently it’s not almond milk. It’s Bonsoy or nothing.


I remember the first time I tried to register in classes at unimelb. It was a stinking hot day. My room had no air conditioner. All the electric fans were sold out at Kmart. Violins played every time I said “arrgghhh”, which was often.


I needed a breadth subject*, and nothing appealing was fitting into my timetable. I kept going back to the list of subjects (like a soy drinker looking for Bonsoy, do you see where I’m going?) in the hope of finding a subject that would fit. In the end, the only one I could find was a Management subject from Commerce.

Commerce is all well and good if you have any level of interest in that kind of thing (I don’t) or if your brain works in the required way (mine doesn’t). And I’m sure Organisational Management subjects are great if they don’t strike you, as they did me, as some sort of Satanic version of psychology. Three weeks into that semester and I was grimacing and spitting my Commerce subject disgustedly into my metaphorical takeaway cup.


Here is my gripe with breadth subjects: I think they’re a great idea for everyone except Arts students. I don’t know if this has anything to do with Japanese earthquakes, but there is always a shortage of feasible breadth subjects for me to do and always a shortage of space in my timetable into which I can wrangle them. This is one of the snobbiest things I’ll ever say, but if you can’t let me fill my degree with Arts subjects, please at least go and get me a long black.


Originally I was planning to end this article with the takeaway message that, just like a soyfriend can discover the joys of long blacks or almond milk lattes in the midst of a Bonsoy shortage, we can discover things we *~never knew we loved~* in the midst of a breadth subject shortage.

But if anyone suggests that maybe it was good for me to learn a bit about Commerce? Watch my lip curl. Nuh-uh. I know what I like.


– Caitlin.


*I didn’t need a breadth subject, but I was a first year and didn’t know about the almond-milk alternative that was putting off breadth for a semester.

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