13 Apr 2017
I took a photo on the day I started university and another on the day I left. On my first day, I was nervous. Not the coy, cutesy nervous you see in Rachel McAdams films. Shaking, want-to-vomit nervous. I began my university journey sat in the library, my feet resting tentatively on the floor. I wasn’t ‘buzzing’. I wasn't even excited and the only thing about me that was ‘pumped’ was my heart, which had replaced it’s normal beating with a kind of rapid pumping which, according to NHS.com, was not dissimilar to a heart attack. I didn't have high hopes for freshers because I am what's known as A Bore. While other freshers were downing vodka shots and kissing boys whose mum's still booked dentist appointments for them, I was eating pizza.
This is where we meet Esther, a fellow pizza-loving, slightly older student who rolled her eyes at the 18-year-olds as much as I did. We were 21, and we had no time for this shit. We wanted pizza with more pepperoni than our bodies could handle. And we had it. Esther was in every single one of my lectures. She was my university sister and we forged our friendship in cheesecake.
It took me a while to find my group, but I did eventually. Freshers week is noise. Everyone wants to be everyone's friend. It's when the hangovers are kicking in that the bookworms come out to socialise. I met new friends throughout university, each one reaffirming to me that secondary school pecking orders were completely backwards. Geeky wasn't a bad thing here.
It wasn't all magical. Sometimes, it was shit. I didn't always get the grades I wanted. Sometimes I skipped lectures when I hadn’t done the work. I considered emigrating any time I had to do a presentation.
I was studying Journalism and Creative Writing and I found my groove in the Creative Writing part of my degree. I’d escape the Journalism lectures and collapse into my chair in Creative Writing seminars, feeling like I was home. I didn’t have my back up. I wasn’t a bitch. I could breathe. And sometimes I would look around the room, and I could feel that I would miss it. I would miss this. I would look around at characters, both on the page and around me, and I wondered if I had ever fit in more. Soppy, right? But I was surrounded by people who loved words as much as I did. People who didn’t call me a geeky English twat for using words like ‘ostentatious’ and 'peturbed'.
I read out some of my best words and stories in those rooms. They brought the best out of me. And the same way those stories had a first and last line, I have my first and last photos of my time at university. My bookends.
My first steps into university were shaky. The last, less so.
Posted by Kerry