As the year progresses, I am increasingly certain that I’m not at University for my own development alone; if the attitude of lecturers is anything to go by, I am less a person, and more a bounce pad for the lecturers ego.
I noticed the warning signs almost immediately, when I realised that my core textbook was written by my head lecturer. In some ways I could see the logic, but a bigger part of me was annoyed that I would be giving money to a person that wasn’t actually taking our lectures because he was “away on research”. There’s something about getting the book sale and not actually bothering to teach that seemed insincere.
Since then, I’d say that 9/10 lecturers have simply put their own work on the reading list. I get that they’re supposed to be experts, but that seems a little bit too arrogant to me.
Today something happened that really made me question the logic of some academics. I finished my exams last week, and my lectures do not start until next week. So that means that the University had to fill up this week with something. Their answer was to create a programme that allows students to complete challenges throughout the week with people outside of their department. I didn’t think this was a bad idea, and I went to the introductory meeting thinking that it might be an interesting experience.
Sadly, I wasn’t actually told anything about the project. Instead, I got a politician telling me about HIS research into different cities, and name dropping other MP’s left, right and center. I got an academic telling us about HER experience on a similar project in Greece. Weirdest of all, they decided to try and connect with the youth by hiring a poet and an accordion player to turn bits of their talks into songs in the intervening periods. This was so bizarre that I believe it trended on Twitter today.
So basically, my point is that I wish that lecturers could remember that we know that they have a PHD. You don’t need to bring it up every 5 seconds, and I expected something that called itself an “introductory session” to actually tell me a little about the project. I am becoming increasingly skeptical of academia, as it seems to benefit everyone but the student. This wasn’t the most engaging post, but frankly I’m just confused.
Train journeys turn me on. And before you jump to conclusions, I don’t mean because of the forced close proximity to other members of the human race. In reality that is actually quite unnerving at times, especially when the bastards attempt to talk to me. What I really mean is that train journeys turn me onto me. That’s right, put me in a confined space full of strange people and even stranger smells and I become one narcissistic son of a bitch.
This is because the lack of external stimuli means that I have to find other ways to entertain myself, and apart from rekindling my love of reading and writing (spoiled somewhat by years of monotonous Eng Lit lessons) I find that trains really spark my imagination. If I have a seat that is. Standing cramped near the toilet should never be romanticised or engaging, and if it is, I wish to know how; possibly people come up with narratives about a network of train operators who solve mysteries around rural England, but only when the waft from the WC influences their detective skills. Come to think of it, I’m sure I can write that and make it a best seller, assuming that no one has published any erotic slabs of fan fiction that month.
But the above is an example of what I’m talking about. When I’m sat with a tray table, an ipad and a styrofoam cup of coffee that has had the Starbucks brand dubiously pasted all over it, I feel like a proper writer. I can turn anything into a story, if only to block out the announcements of the driver who has just tried to give me a complete history of the midlands just because we’ve pulled out of Birmingham, in a way that reminds me of one of those tour guides on the open top buses: “if you look to your left you will see another sodding field, if you can see round the passanger sat next to you who seems obsessed with suffocating you with their broadsheet”.
Sadly, I’ve realised that these stories are never as good once I leave the train, possibly because I can no longer imagine myself as an author or a dishevelled reporter chasing a lead. I go back to viewing myself as a teenager who is only writing because he’s bored of the video games he brought with him, and because it’s apparently not sociably acceptable to play Wonderwall on guitar very loudly to try and connect with any northern people who may be onboard. I realise the extent of my self absorbent (is that a word?) when I consider exactly who I am writing this for, as I can’t see it being of much relevence to anyone. If you are writing for yourself, you probably shouldn’t do so in a way that addresses other people, especially if you’ve already burned any social bridges by suffocating the person next to you with their broadsheet.
Guess that’s why I’ll probably just post in on my blog.
Paper houses, too much glue; these are the New Years dreams of cowboy builders playing with fireworks.
The sun rises upon them in the morning, shedding light on the pristine models and perfect shapes that haven’t survived the transition into daylight. The rays of light reveal the jagged edges, the rushed colours and the structural differences of a village that cannot work together. A picture is always perfect in the head, but this one is ruined by the hundreds of adjacent villages that have been abandoned as mere slums of the year before. And with every new attempt, the houses move closer to a flood plain.
The worst bit is that the slums are the ones I would rather live in; they have had time to be worked at and improved, and while the residents may feel that starting again is less effort for more reward, the structures previously created may well survive the fireworks that will burn the the latest ones to ashes.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a person similarly cannot change in just a year. So Happy New Year everyone, and take everything that life gives you. But don’t commit to a trial year and decide that you can always change your mind the next time we spin round the sun. It shouldn’t be a get out of jail free card, and I’d rather believe that I’m me for a lifetime as oppose to a shell that needs to be upgraded once a year.
Oh how I wish it was me:
Written under my skin are the thoughts of my dreams,
To put to paper what I feel as we fall below.
It’s too much to chance, on a fickle Romance, born into lust for all that remains unknown.
As so far I’ve shown
Just how little I’ve grown.
But oh I still wish it was me.
I’ve looked for a compromise
A dirt splattered boy with the stars in his eyes
Who grabs at dust turning to Gold.
Though I will admit, that if this is it, the gold that I’ve found is my own.
Enough to bring me home,
But oh how I wish it was me.
In the dark, fit-inducing confines of the local club we see the wild human being, marking its territory by pouring vodka everywhere and performing its mating ritual, which consists of finding the nearest thing with a pulse and eating its face.
If you did not understand my humour, try reading that in David Attenborough’s voice. I thought it was quite good at least, and this is my blog so if you could just smile and nod, that would be appreciated.
Anyway, I find the analogy of a pack of animals very fitting in relation to a night at a club, as clubs are something that the logical part of me just doesn’t understand; even walking in felt like that scene in The Lion King where Mufasa died, except this time I was Mufasa and I survived, which meant that sadly I still had to put up the whole experience. I think the main problem I have with clubs is that they are “social” places where you cant hear a word that your friends are saying, and so to even speak to the people I know I have to lean in like a vampire with spacial awareness issues. But another issue is that the whole point of a club appears to be to end up sleeping with someone, and seeing as I am in a relationship it kind of makes the event pointless. I mean, I know I can dance for 5 hours straight while downing vodka, and whilst I don’t have a problem with downing vodka I like to feel that what I’m doing has some kind of purpose in entertaining me. Last night I saw two girls I was with shove their tongue down someones throat within 2 minutes of meeting them, so obviously then speed dating appears as if it would be more effective if it happened in a room with sticky floors and no oxygen. Perhaps the most annoying thing though is the amount of time I spend being used as a leaning post for over-zealous, entitled couples who are too lazy to just do it on the floor like everyone else, which isnt even practical as I am only 6ft2 and there are people a lot taller who would be better suited to the purpose.
Despite this, I am ashamed to say that for some reason I keep going. I think that is because I just love dancing to early noughties pop. Yes, I know I listen to heavy metal, but don’t judge me as I’m pretty sure it’s the alcohols fault. I’ll be fine as long as I don’t start twerking, at which point you all have permission to shoot me. Because drunk me appears to ignore logical me and start shuffling like a dad at a wedding anyway. Going clubbing is entertaining I guess, but it seems like a pointless act. You know, like trying to stab the DJ with a blunt pencil because he played Stacy’s Mom for the 5-billionth time that evening….
So I haven’t posted since I arrived at uni, and I guess I assumed that I would have more to say by this point; so I’m just going to start by informing you that your money is being well spent, and that If you think about it, it’s kind of scary that University has the reputation it does of wild antics and strange behaviours when it is these people who are going to become your doctors and dentists and the like. I have already witnessed my fair share of bodily fluids staining carpets and pavements, and I think you should ask your doctor next time you see them what they really got up to whilst they pretended to be revising for an exam.
In all seriousness, I have enjoyed my first few weeks, but I haven’t quite settled to the point where I feel as if I know what I’m doing here. Instead, I feel more like I’m just wandering along until where I’m going appears around the next corner, and that destination will probably be a Weatherspoons. This I think highlights my capacity as a student, as I don’t even do the social bit properly. Would I like to go to a club? Nah, I’ll go to a “pub” where I can get unlimited coffee for about 65p. Would I like to come to pre-drinks? Nope, I’m going to an improvised comedy evening and besides, I have to be up at 7.
So maybe I’m not entirely awful, as I do venture from my room when I need to, and some part of me really enjoys nights out. I think it is just something that im not used to yet. I’m taking my first trip home this weekend and at least I can say that I can cook bolognese now. I think I’ll start posting more regularly, and hopefully next time I’ll go back to the ranting and awful jokes. All creative capacity is currently going into trying to make teeline shorthand make sense. Yes brain, those are apparently valid symbols and no brain, You are not just still drunk.
These blank walls will tell you more about me than any poster or picture ever could. They will show you that I don’t belong here, and that this space isn’t truly mine. I will attempt to stick my personality all over them in any way that I can, but at the very least these walls prove that I am starting again. Which isn’t really a bad thing in the long run, but these blank faces will watch everything that I do over the next year without changing, in stark contrast to my own decisive development. There is at least a pin board at their heart, where I can attach bits of myself, and I’ll take what I can get. But these walls are blank, and these corridors are empty, and my head is reeling trying to take it all in.
Ok, I’m not really saying anything here, it’s just that since arriving at university today It’s hit me that whilst i’m not really alone I do have to adapt, and there really is nothing more hostile than an empty room. I’m typing this just to occupy myself, and I’m too tired to even put in the effort to make it elegant or engaging. Although maybe there’s a meaning in that itself.
I don’t know, or care.
I’m going to bed.