Thursday, 3 November 2011

It's been a while

Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.

For the past seven and a half weeks I’ve been at university. I’m nestled somewhere in the depths of North West London studying CreativeWriting. No, not English. Not even English with Creative Writing. Just straight Creative Writing. Apparently my future employers will deem it The Soft Option, but I wanted to do the comedy module. Seemed like a laff.

“So,” people say, “you’re going to be a writer?”

The thing is, before seven and a half weeks ago I hadn’t considered it as a realistic potential career choice. Writing was just something I enjoyed, much as I enjoy art galleries, pie, and all sorts of other glorious things. Just like the numerous art gallery and pie-based careers I had overlooked, being a writer had simply not crossed my mind.

That’s what university is all about, so I’m told. People (the same people that ask if I’ll be a writer) say that it’s here that you find out who you truly are. I can see that; I’ve met new people, done new things ,and done even more of the things I had done before. But in those first five weeks I became someone I didn’t know very well. Gone were the perpetual heels and the everyday hair washes. I waved goodbye to eating anything other than custard creams, and I frequently couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten fruit, vegetables or meat. Most evenings were spent with cider, and I went for five consecutive days without milk…several times. 3am was my new bedtime, evenwhen I hadn’t been out on the razz, and I didn’t have any clean clothes. Acouple of times I said ‘innit’ without being ironic. In short, I was a dirty, nocturnal, inarticulate mess, surviving on carbohydrates and booze. Also known as a common or garden student.

In no way am I attempting to encourage stereotyping students. There are plenty of perfectly clean students, who do their laundry and cook every night. I’ve met them; they live upstairs.

Inevitably what one reverts
to at home
After those five initial weeks, during which I’d only done one food shop and one laundry excursion, I went Home. I arrived on a Wednesday with embarrassingly visible roots, a vitamin deficiency and eight loads of washing to do. On Thursday I was in a National Trust café with Daddy Stedders. On Friday I watched Have I Got News For You with Mummy Stedders. On Saturday night I was inbed by half ten. On Sunday morning I was up by eight. I ate three meals a day and didn’t drink any alcohol. My hair and clothes were clean. It was nice. I felt more like myself then than I had in the past five weeks.

So here’s my question: am I actually capable of living normally whilst in the abnormality of university halls? Goodness knows, but I’m giving it a go. The two and a half weeks that have passed since I first went home have been promising. Today I got up, unprovoked, at nine. I haven’t spent all day unwashed in bed eating dry cereal. I wore fresh clothes, and I’m currently enjoying some casserole. I’ve even got a haircut booked for tomorrow.

Importantly, I have discovered one vital thing.
Before, people said “So you’re going to be a writer?” and I would reply “I guess so, maybe.”
Now they say “So you’re going to be a writer?” and I say “I already am.”

Prepare for an info dump; life is teaching me oodles.

1 comment:

  1. Emily, you've just made the transition to adulthood where all decisions rest on your back - you don't have to do these things but you choose too.

    Its the same as the question about being a writer; you're choosing to live an ordered life, its not a maybe or a possible. you've no one to do these things for you so you're running your life as to want it to be (and I'm sure there are others are still shying away from the fact that as adults they have these choices to make too)