Nicholas Fahy

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce

Why did you choose to study this particular degree?

Ever since I was five years old writing ‘Detective Nick’ stories about my crime fighting pursuits in the playground I have loved literature and its ability to take us out of the humdrum of the everyday and submerge us in an infinite sea of possible emotions and experiences. Literature informs the way we view the world and broadens our potential for experience, deepening our engagement with the real world, and it is this ability to influence someone on such a profound and enriching level which has always drawn me to fiction.

At the same time, my father is a banker and a management lecturer and as such I have equally always had an infinity with the business world. Undertaking a double degree in Arts and Commerce was the natural way to balance these coexisting passions, and throughout my degree and my involvement in ARNA and Hermes, two of the literary journals on campus, I have come to realise that I can leverage these two passions and the knowledge I have gained throughout these degrees to become a publisher, with my goal being to work for the likes of Penguin and Random House.

Why are you passionate about this topic area?

While I have always loved writing, when I was in Year 12 we were asked by our English teacher to write a short story on ‘belonging’ and to then hand this to another student in the class who would mark it. I wrote my story, handed it to one of the girls in my class and by the time she finished reading it she was crying over it.

That ability to move someone on such a deep level, to really connect with them emotionally, has never left me and has spurred me on to want to be able to do so on a much larger scale – being able to provide a temporary escape for my readers where they can remove themselves from the stresses of the real world and experience emotions and lives they would never otherwise get the opportunity to experience, broadening their emotional engagement with the real world and challenging them intellectually on a philosophical level.

What internships or placement programs have you participated in?

Having never been overseas before, I revelled in the opportunity to study at University College London for six months at the beginning of my fifth year. London for me was the natural choice given my love of English literature and being able to stand in the Globe theatre and watch a Shakespeare performance or to do my daily run to Regent’s Park running past Virginia Woolf’s old house, was for me completely surreal and extremely formative. I was able to spend six months immersing myself in the art, literature and culture of London, soaking it up, and this has heavily influenced my writing, pushing me to explore different ideas and to truly appreciate the diversity and complexity of human experience.

What do you enjoy most about this degree – could be something you have learnt or experienced?

I enjoy the balance I have between my Business School and Arts subjects, always doing some of each every semester. It stimulates the creative and the analytical sides of my brain, and invariably the two criss-cross over between the two faculties, helping me challenge my understanding of literary texts and encouraging me to be more creative in my business problem-solving.

At the same time, this balance extends beyond the classroom and editing Hermes, Australia’s oldest literary journal, ARNA, the Sydney Arts Students’ Society’s journal and co-founding the Business School journal Inside Enterprise have all contributed to my personal and professional development, helping me forge invaluable editing, teamwork and communication skills and in the process creating my very own books.

Who inspires you?

The great existential and absurdist philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. I love engaging with their ideas, both inside and outside of the classroom, and the sheer complexity which underpins their beliefs is innately intoxicating – that language can create such complexity and challenge our most fundamental beliefs in the world, that there can be so much in this world to learn and that there is so much we will never know, it inspires me to want to explore both these known and unknown worlds of language and to see what I will discover.

On the fiction side of things Oscar Wilde’s wit is inescapable and I lose many hours getting lost in his works. But the reality is that I read very wildly and often my inspiration is drawn by whatever I’m reading at that moment. For example, I’m revisiting my favourite Haruki Murakami novels right now and the way in which he subverts simplicity and draws out the most complex, captivating and surreal worlds really informs my own understanding of the importance of setting and the bounds which define this fictive world and their inhabitants.

What advice would you give someone considering the degree?
Get involved from day one. I spent my first year holed up in Fisher library and my biggest regret is missing out on all the opportunities outside of the classroom that I could have got involved in. I was fortunate enough to get involved by my second year and since then those opportunities have bred opportunities. I would never have imagined that by the time I would graduate university I would have been the editor-in-chief of two literary journals and a business journal, as well as being published across all of these and winning a university literary prize for my writing.

There is so much potential for you to leverage the skills and knowledge you are learning within the classroom outside of it in the clubs and societies program and all the professional development opportunities afforded by the Business School and the Arts faculty. Whether it is having a summer internship at KPMG, consulting for Greenpeace through 180 Degrees Consulting or writing a short story to submit for the Henry Lawson Prize for Prose, there is so much to get out of a degree at Sydney University that you will never have the time to try everything – so my sincere advice really is to fill it with as much as you possibly can and to ride that hot air balloon to wherever those opportunities take you!

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