Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

Advice for Generation Y

What could a lawyer specialising in strata title have to say of interest to a group of 18 – 20 year old university students?

Few Warrane residents were left wondering after a powerful presentation by Michael Teys, founder of Teys Lawyers, in the College Main Common Room on Wednesday April 13.

Mr. Teys began by outlining the criticisms of Generation Y and in particular upbraiding residents for their generation’s lack of resilience.

He then told the story of his career: his privileged upbringing, his early successes, how he made his fortune…

Few of those listening anticipated the next twist: Mr Teys spoke of his mental breakdown and his diagnosis with bipolar disorder. He described his life since then as a battle to coming to terms with his illness and its treatment.

He mentioned the importance of simple things such as regular exercise, sunshine, sleep, and medication. He also spoke of the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy.

“The important thing in bipolar disorder is to recognise that all things, good and bad, will pass.”

Mr. Teys said that his illness had been well controlled and the supports he had helped him through more recent stressors such as losing a fortune in the global financial crisis. He had also managed to maintain a marriage of 27 years and to raise 4 children.

Mr Teys listed three things which had been important in his life which he wanted to pass on to residents.

“First, finish your degree, and then go further and develop a degree of proficiency in what you do.”

“Second, walk Kokoda. It was unquestionably the best thing I ever did for myself.”

“Finally, listen carefully to your mates.”

Mr. Teys recounted a phone call he received from a friend offering support at one of the darkest periods of his life.

“It was probably the most important phone call I ever took.”

He asked residents to be aware that quite a few of their friends in the room may be touched by mental illness and struggling to communicate the fact to others. He stressed that mental illness affected an array of people regardless of who they were or what they had achieved.

Afterwards Mr. Teys responded to a number of questions about resilience, mental health, and even a few about strata title.

[Warrane College offers more than just accommodation to students at UNSW: Details of other guest speakers are available here]