It was never going to be easy dragging ourselves back to our home universities after exchange for that much-dreaded fourth, and final, year. Flicking through photos of that magical year abroad, it’s hard to believe that just three months ago I had a balcony view over the Alps all of my own and that Lake Léman, glittering under the summer sunlight, was a short metro ride away.
Now, with the interminable rain and grey skies of England hanging over us,
we return to the real world of our actual degrees. Oh, and this year is the most important of them all (read: nose. Grindstone), counting for more than the last two combined and featuring the delightful prospect of a dissertation to write. But one mustn’t get bogged down in negativity. I, being someone who enjoys writing (not to mention a bit of a geek), am really rather excited about my dissertation. It actually feels rather refreshing to have the pressure of a lot of work to do for once. In addition, there are some real pluses to being back home.
For a start, emotional reunions with friends of old. There’s nothing quite like all coming back together after a year apart, most of us with exciting tales from abroad to relate. Also, the earliest time classes can start is 9am, such a luxury! Price tags, though hardly rock-bottom in England, don’t feel like a kick in the stomach every time you turn one over. It may be less exciting back home, but it is still home. We be back on our home turf, we know how things roll here; whether we like it or not, we can deal.
In general, I am feeling rather old now as I walk across campus. That harrassed look on the faces of the Freshers during the first week as they stalked about looking for their classes (probably nursing hangovers) recalled my first days, so long ago… Ah, bless their hearts. “Party” has swiftly become an unknown concept to my life; I just cannot afford it, neither time nor energy-wise. The most exciting social event of the past week was a Chinese dinner for the moon festival, and I’m more than fine with it. I’ve calmed down in my old age; the thought of being pressed up against drunken, sweaty first-years in the university nightclub, or trying to research Greek mythology with a pounding head, doesn’t really hold much appeal for me.
Let me drown in a pile of books and studiousness, as opposed to loud music, flashing lights, skipping lectures and having my face licked by strangers (this has never actually happened, thank god). I’m cool with that.