So, clinging on like a cat on a branch, I’m back at Warwick. Only this time it’s different. I’m no longer one of the masses. I’m starting again, but with all the scars, emotional and physical, of three hard years of university already with me. I hold a degree in one hand, and a cup of coffee in the other. I’m studying for an MA. I am a postgraduate.
Despite my allusion to clinging on, this isn’t an attempt to avoid the real world. I’m studying something interesting and relevant, more specific than my bachelors. This isn’t a 12-year course in applied basket-weaving, this is a one-year course, and then I’m out again, for real this time, with more expertise.
I’ve received a lot of correspondence from the university, but none of it really seems to take into account I’ve been here before.
So, in this one extra year, where do I stand? I’ve received a lot of correspondence from the university, but none of it really seems to take into account I’ve been here before. I know the best time to visit the Terrace Bar. I remember the breakfast special. I have already paid homage to the Koan. They’re treating me as if I’m new blood, when really I’m old hat. Do I just carry on as I did before, just with more work to do? Or is it entirely different?
I feel that Freshers’ events are meant for those with boundless teenage energy, not for suave and sophisticated early twenty-somethings. I’m left with questions. How many times can I hear about ‘Tony Lee XXX comedy hypnotist’? Is it socially acceptable to go to POP!? Will I dare go? (The answers are a. once is too much b. no, and c. probably). I’m not sure it’s quite the same. But, does it need to be?
Maybe I should just respect the idea that we need less social engineering at this age. After all, most freshers will never have experienced anything like university, being thrown into a new environment and being forced to adapt quickly. In fact, maybe I should be glad I get to choose my own friends, and at a less frenetic pace.
It’s difficult being one of the old guys. It’s easy to stick to your work, feeling everything else is a young person’s game, only pausing occasionally to sigh, look out the window and shout out that “I was the future once!” Maybe though, it’s possible to not be so resigned. I get to live life at my own pace, knowing where I am, what I’m about, and what I’m doing (most of the time.)
Maybe being the old guy isn’t a bad thing. Ask me in a year.