How to know if you’re a breatha (and how you can come to accept it)

How to know if you’re a breatha (and how you can come to accept it)

Part 1: Develop self-awareness

  1. Oh, the breatha. The absolute epitome of what people think of when they think “student”. Like the scarfie of yesteryear, the breatha is everywhere: lurking in your lecture halls, downing Monsters in the library, sifting on your mates. You know them when you see them – or do you? Check yourself, breatha; the problem is worse than you think. In very real surveys conducted by the University of Otago’s Psychology Department, students generally underestimated their breathaness by 92% on any given BYO night. Further studies concluded that two thirds of Otago students fell somewhere on the breatha (or even sheatha) spectrum at some point in their studies. There’s a very real chance that you reading this may have inadvertently fallen into the breatha zone!
  2. One can hear the breatha howling into the night in anguish, yearning to break from the chains of their own social anxiety and hedonism. Hence why DnB is so popular – the beat is designed to mask the screams. Part of the breatha conundrum is the inherent contradiction between uni having you absolutely cooked on life, and the “ceebs” mentality leftover from high school that still plagues your every action. Uni is a space where there is so much to do, but the breatha also thinks that doing any of it will make you look like an idiot to everyone. God forbid you be seen giving a fuck. Still, you need something to help you connect with the masses of anonymous people you pass on a day-to-day basis. Drinking, perhaps? You’re cool right? You’re game for a laugh? And just like that, you’re a breatha. Collect your liquor store merch on the way out. 

Part 2: How to spot it

  1. Don’t think that just because you’re on Leith Street you’ve somehow managed to escape the vortex of Castle Street breathadom. In fact, the breatha zone can be traced on a map to include Dundas, Leith, Castle, Forth, and down to Clyde and Hyde, forming a dick and balls. Castle is merely the shaft. If you live on the cock, have zero hobbies, and generally find yourself ceebsing everyone and everything on a Sunday, it’s likely you’re a breatha. 
  2. Some more niche symptoms to look out for are the wispy mo’ that doesn’t grow because it’s never been shaved, the violent withdrawals you get when it's a Wednesday and you’re not pissing up, or the moment that the length of your jorts drops below the knee (really bro?). The second your mullet touches your shirt collar you’re in grave danger. Good thing shirts are optional, apparently. 
  3. Don’t think that just because you don’t binge drink you can’t possibly be a breatha. Smoking has gradually begun to replace excessive alcoholism after even the benign act of drinking has become too tiresome. It’s actually a fucking pit, one which no student ever wants to be in, no matter how well they hide their tears beneath the brim of their goodlid. 

Part 3: Denial

  1. First thing to do (now that you have finally addressed your breathaness) is to calm the fuck down. It’s probably not hard for you to do because you exist in a state of constant lethargy, but it can be lowkey upsetting to know that when an ODT boomer is thinking of “those bloody students”, they’re thinking of you.
  2. Any attempt to drastically change your personality may result in even worse psychological imbalances, such as a move towards excessive toxic softboy energy – a state which can result in an even worse state of self-denial (guilty).
  3. The next thing to do is realise that no matter what you do in the short-term, it is impossible to rid yourself of your breathaness. Much like your balls in public, that deep psychological itch within you still needs to be scratched!

Part 4: Acceptance

  1. Once you’ve resigned yourself to your breathaness, you have the tools to do some soul-searching (it’s like trying to find your hoon, but metaphysically). You begin by asking yourself, “Who am I really? In my pursuit of meaning, friendship, and identity, have I really become this strange, almost inhuman creature dedicated to my craft on the decks above all else?”
  2. The truth is, you’re just like everyone else here. In this sense, everyone at Otago is a breatha. We cloak ourselves in identities which we know will work in social settings, all the while aiming for something greater – a personality. Critic will let you know when we figure out what that is.
  3. At the core of breathadom is not hatred or an unflinching craving for social hegemony, it is that which binds student culture together. It is love which fundamentally makes the breatha who they are. It is the innocent love of student culture, fostered on your first day at halls before being transformed into something greater. And if you’re all reading this now (actively engaging in student culture) doesn’t that make you a breatha too?
  4. Being a breatha needn’t be a bad thing, let yourself know this. In the wise words of the most wounding breatha, Wreckit Ralph, “I’m breatha and that’s good. I’ll never be good because that’s not breatha. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.
This article first appeared in Issue 4, 2024.
Posted 5:36pm Sunday 17th March 2024 by Hugh Askerud.