O-Weekender: All The Highlights From Our Day Of Inspired Talks

Starting university, college or TAFE marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life – new responsibilities and freedoms means the game is changing. To kick off this chapter in the best way possible, Westpac partnered with The Cusp to get a bunch of impressive humans in one place to talk about what they learned during this special time. Here’s what went down.

The inaugural O-weekender is your chance to hear how to face your fears, dream big, embrace your weirdness and get killer ideas from people like Mark Mathews, Megan Washington and Natalie Tran.

Held the Saturday before the official start of O-week at Australian Technology Park in Sydney, students could create live GIFs, chow down at food carts, paint on the collaborative art wall, rent out a person as a ‘book’ at the human library and learn about getting zen in the mindful zone (led by Dr Adrian Medhurst).

O-Weekender HighlightsMissed out on O-Weekender? Catch the highlights here:
Posted by The Cusp on Monday, 7 March 2016

Our MC for the day, Eddie Perfect, introduced what we’d be in for. First up was big wave surfer, Mark Mathews.

Something we all deal with throughout our lives is fear. And when you hit university, new opportunities that scare you become a pretty regular occurrence. Fear is something Mark deals with on a daily basis; he’s surfed some of the biggest, gnarliest breaks in the world. Taking his lessons directly from the ocean and applying them to all areas of his life, Mark says yes to big opportunities and manages stress well. Something we could all use the advice on.

We sat down with Mark ahead of O-weekender to get a little extra insight into his world, and talked through five lessons in overcoming fear, which you can read here.

Next up was DJ and health and fitness nut, Tigerlily, whose aqua-coloured mane mesmerised the audience as much as the wisdom she shared around what fuels her.

Tigerlily tours internationally so is constantly on the road, but maintains her health and drive. The fact Tigerlily can do this – even in the face of working in an industry usually associated with heavy partying – means she was the perfect person to quell any anxiety students might have around juggling their impending work/study/life balance.

The Cusp was also out in force, presenting a panel discussion hosted by Junkee Media publisher, Tim Duggan.

We focussed on our love of F-words (just not that kind); talking fears, fuels, fails and feels with the likes of Shane Jenek (a singer and performer who is sometimes better known by his alter ego, Courtney Act); Dr Adrian Medhurst (an innovation, performance and wellbeing psychologist, and founder of Mind Flex); Amy Lyons (the Marketing Co-Ordinator at Westpac Bicentennial Foundation); and Andrew Levins (a DJ, dad, chef and podcaster).

Jamie Green is a social entrepreneur and founder of profit-for-purpose sleepwear brand, One Night Stand. He talked us through failure – something we’ll all face in our lives. In the end, how you deal with failure will define your character and strength.

Meanwhile, Natalie Tran jokes that her story “starts out the way all good pornos do.” She was young, at university, her boyfriend was away and she had a webcam. But that’s where the similarities end. Natalie’s YouTube channel, communitychannel, has amassed more than half a billion views and 1.7 million subscribers.

She’s known for her smart, quirky videos full of social observations, navel-gazing philosophies and breakdowns of the dilemmas of modern life. You know, like what kind of person a cockroach would be or how to deal with the pressure when a car stops for you when you want to cross the road. Natalie ran through how feeling has guided her throughout her career, reminding us between laughs that “everything will work out just the way it’s meant to.”

You can check out our interview with Natalie here.

The keynote address came from much lauded musician Megan Washington, who told us she’s in a love-hate relationship with fear. Megan’s musical work has been described as “a huge leap in songwriting, production and depth” and as it turns out, you don’t get there without being scared out of your wits. Megan uses fear to propel her, to feel alive. Her main message? To always, unequivocally embrace your weirdness.

Our mates and sister publication Faster Louder rounded up the epic day with an after party featuring Tigerlily, Art of Sleeping, Indian Summer and Nicole Millar. Until next year, guys.