29th of August:
With the summer coming to an end and an imminent return to University, it’s time to say goodbye to ‘old’ friends; friends from school, friends that I haven’t seen since then, friends that seem to belong to a different era of your life. It’s strange this different classification of ‘friend’ that I started writing – I thought ‘why am I separating these people, putting them under a different category of my life?’ It’s because they are associated with different times. School friends, especially, have grown up with you, at least in part, and now we have all splintered off on our different paths and so meeting ‘old friends’ means a reattachment to that old path in some way. It’s as though the branches on a tree for a moment have reached back to the trunk and pushed away again. Or to use a different and exceptionally geeky metaphor it’s like the multiverse timeline, like you’ve stepped back to the past only to reenter your main path later.
29th of September:
I’m back at university in my first week of lessons and the distance still feels strange. Seeing new friends whom the old friends may never meet and vice versa – its like separating parts of your life, confining them to areas and keeping them there. Of course, they do merge but there’s still a distinct separateness about it. Going to visit some of my Old Friends back in May at their University revealed that separation even more. Universities work in different ways and there’s different lingo for it – anyone else know what ‘stash’ is? Anyone from Exeter University here? ! (apparently its the team kit for those as confused as I was). But in this visit too were friends not at university but having taken different paths, one starting university this year. How strange it feels to think that I am in my last year while some old friends are only just beginning to tread that path and to talk to them of all the wonderful things they’ve been up to since school. It’s like we all still know each other but yet we don’t – we’ve all grown and changed, as we should having left home, becoming new versions of ourselves.
It’s odd too to think of how we all thought we would be after school or to think of where we might be when the same period of time has passed again. Of course being in third year brings that speculative anxiety of feeling like we should know what we will be doing. Its on the tip of everyones tongue – to do a masters? to work? to travel first? to do something different? an internship? Theres so much to choose from and we are so lucky, its so exciting yet so daunting to think we are out of the fairly protective bubble of doing an undergraduate degree. At school you know where you will be for many years then after all these choices are laid out at your feet to pursue.
A University Update…
This year I am the Head Opinion Editor at The Orbital, RHUL’s largest student publication which i’m so excited for. Freshers week has been a bit hectic with deadlines, recruitment and socials but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. After last years sofa-fest, it’ll be great to be doing new things and having more of a student life again. For me personally that isn’t likely to include big nights out at the club as its not really my scene but to see people face to face again and be involved with the student media and other opportunities this year is so exciting. (I’ve been back in a theatre too since being back and it was incredible I hadn’t realised how much of a difference it makes being part of a non-socially distanced audience – more on that soon though!)
In terms of lessons, we have seminars in person (with the option to attend online if ill or a commuting student) this year and lectures are remaining online. I’m finding that people are still unsure about what measures are meant to be in place and which aren’t – is it alright to sit together, to mask or not to mask etc. but I think that will ease in time as we get used to being in person again. Its a shame lectures aren’t online too, I feel like I pay much more attention in person – there’s far too much temptation to bring the laptop to bed for those 9ams with them online! Plus there’s an interactive element to being in a lecture theatre as opposed to your bedroom. I met most of the uni friends I have now in those distant first year lectures…
Theres always going to be a sectioning to a life as people and experiences come and go, or hover in the background of your mind for a while. It’s exciting seeing all those changes in our lives and makes greeting the old faces even sweeter. Day to day its difficult to notice those subtle changes in your character but greeting the past through the people of your past holds up that mirror in a way. So, into final year I go of my undergraduate degree – lets hope this coming year is better for everyone than the last!