University continued…

As you may have gathered from my previous post, university has been a whirl of excitement, adrenalin and poetry. I have been throwing myself into the deep end of the academic world. I mean, how many undergraduates would get up at 6:00am on a Saturday and take the train plus a long walk in pouring rain to get to the university by 9 just to borrow some books for an imminent seminar presentation? Not many at all, if the reaction of the security guard who let me in is anything to go by. I don’t think I’d grown a second head, but from the look on his face, you would think that was what had happened.

I have also chatted to more students than I can remember. There are only so many times you can ask people “where are you from?” “how old are you?” or in my case “did you remember to write your epitaph?” before all the answers become a blur. As a joint honours (Creative Writing and Journalism) student, you may well be asked “which other subject do you study?” more than once. Now, when faced with this question, the trick is to remember which subject you are currently in and give the opposite answer. Sounds obvious? Well believe me, it doesn’t pay to take the possibility of giving the right answer for granted.

One of the perks of being a Creative Writing student is that there is so much you learn about people without asking or being told. And no, I don’t mean obsessive Facebook stalking, eavesdropping or developing supernatural psychic abilities and reading people’s minds. No more than usual anyway. No, what I mean is that not a Writing Identity workshop will go by without having to pair up and read each other’s creative pieces on your significant memories. Or your first hangover (that wasn’t me, I hasten to add). Or even a diary entry that you don’t mind sharing with the group and, in an ideal world, isn’t as mundane as mine was.

Being a Journalism student has a few perks of its own. For a start, it means being assertive, a quick worker, in touch with the rest of the world and a whole list of other things which it turns out I’m not. Unfortunately, studying Creative Writing alone isn’t an option at DMU. I chose to do Journalism alongside it partly because it may involve article writing, which I might not fail at, but also because it was the only subject that didn’t require an English A level. My aforementioned presentation, the one that saw me scouring the library early on a Saturday was about Journalism over the past 500 years and was over mercifully quickly. For a start, I’m fairly sure I misjudged how long it would take, and so fell short of the expected duration. On top of that, it seems that my prayers that the other student who was also giving a talk would go first went unheard.

But hey, in spite of presentations, an increasing workload and ridiculously early starts, university is going well. I may have spent more money on food than I usually spend in one year, but it has to be worth it with stalls selling cupcakes like this:
1385252_10152124218958814_387698652_n After a year of commuting on the train, I will hopefully be sharing a student house with my friend who will be at De Montfort next year. This means having to find two other housemates to keep the costs down, and so I have done a sort of “Help Wanted: Housemates” style post on the DMU Facebook page. If any DMU students out there are just desperate to get a house with two quiet, shy, and in my case slightly autistic, Christian girls, you know where to find me…

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Fresher’s week and new beginnings

It has been the start of a new era. Gone are the days of sitting on my backside home studying, procrastinating and wondering where my life is going. Now has come a week in the life of a twenty-nothing year old Fresher at Big School – sorry, De Montfort University. Starting as follows…

Monday: I was dubious about how well my first day was going when the “butterflies-in-the-stomach” feeling got so bad I was beginning to think I was actually getting sick. Knowing that the pale, clammy, slightly befuddled look does not make for a great first impression, I firmly told myself to snap out of it and focus on the Journalism activity at hand: interview and be interviewed by my partner on each other’s lives. After an exhausting two hour day, I made it back in time for orchestra, much to the relief of my desk partner Katy (see March 27). Which can only be a good thing, because she has teasingly informed me more than once that if I leave the orchestra, she will stalk me to my house. And cry. A lot. But I digress…

Tuesday: Would have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for the 6:00 am start. My first Creative Writing lecture saw us all attempting poetry; more specifically, epitaphs. An epitaph, for those who don’t know, is a poem about someone who is dying or who has recently died. Cheerful, I know. Our first task was to think of an epitaph for a (living) famous person, our second, to write one about ourselves. If I die tomorrow, at least I know that the words on my grave will include “Will leave with Grace”. Simon Cowell’s, on the other hand, will read “Still through to the next round.” True poetry emotion.

Wednesday: Began with the Matriculation ceremony. Whoever wrote the freshers week timetable wasn’t wrong when they said it would be full of surprises. Besides all the speeches about uni life, freshers week, etc there was a very long section that involved a gospel choir, dancing cheerleaders and sportsmen/women and even students showing off a car made of tandems and a small robot dog. No, I’m not sure why, but I was suitably impressed all the same.

Thursday: Another 6:00 am start. Had trouble sleeping, partly due to my heart rate after seeing a giant tarantula lookalike in the living room and partly thanks to Basil opening my door and attacking the other cats. Very loudly. I also woke up to a constantly tingling hand, complete with what looked suspiciously like a spider bite. Not the best start to the day. Especially not that of Fresher’s Fair, which had me surrounded by too much noise, too many people and too many things happening at once. When I wasn’t directly in the firing line for basketballs, volleyballs, lacrosse sticks etc., I was constantly faced with students thrusting free sweets and cake into my face. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the students that advertise their societies do it by thrusting as many free sweets and cakes as possible, in the hope that those who get a sugar high are more likely to sign up.

Friday: A pleasant sit down to a plate of cake at the Macmillan coffee morning. Followed by me exploring the apparently empty Macmillan bus, only to have a heart attack when two Cancer Research people suddenly popped up from behind counters cheerfully asking if I wanted to read their various leaflets.

Since then, readers, uni life has been a tumultuous blur. A blur of computers that malfunction only when I use them and a timetable which I swear is deliberately deceiving me so that I miss some lectures and turn up unnecessarily for others. Commuting from home, rather than living in halls does provide a good excuse for not joining other freshers in getting completely bladdered each night. However it often means getting up, looking at the clock in horror and frantically legging it in the general direction of the train station at some unearthly hour of the morning. I had hoped that, compared with home study, there would never be a dull moment at university. At least now I know I wasn’t wrong.