I am buzzing. As you know, I have just embarked on a degree course and yesterday it was the first Day School of the academic year. With my timetable printed off and my bag packed, I headed off for Leeds Met with a sense of nervous anticipation, not quite knowing what to expect. I found my way to the lecture theatre – no mean feat – and then sat as a desk at the front. The room was full of eager faces from all walks of life and I listened to and participated in all the sessions with great gusto, fully immersing myself in everything that the day had to offer.
I came away brimming with enthusiasm for my course, for the Arts, for life really. Last night, I sought out alternative modules that I might like to take as I make my slow but steady progress towards a BA (Hons), in subjects that I never previously had any interest in but suddenly seem fascinated by.
But my underlying feeling as I dip my toe in the clear, bright waters of academia is relief. For a while back there I did wonder what had become of me and how my future could possibly offer me anything cerebral.
I had always loved knowledge and learning. I was recently rather affectionately called a ‘girly swot’ and it was a fair description of my days in full time education. My the time I qualified, I was somewhat jaded by formal learning but the mammoth task of becoming proficient in my chosen discipline stood before me like Mount Eiger and on I went, collecting knowledge and squirrelling it away.
And then I had my children. Four pregnancies in seven years left my memory a laughable shadow of what it had been. My powers of concentration dwindled to nothing so that even sitting through a film to the end became a challenge. But most frightening of all I had no interest in anything outside the confines of my busy family home.
To start with this was fine. I barely had the energy to stand up straight, let alone consider the state of my cerebellum. But as the years rolled on I began to fear that my thirst for knowledge was gone forever and that felt like a huge and unanticipated sacrifice. Perhaps, I, like Faustus, had made an exchange, albeit unwittingly in my case? My brain for my children.
And then, out of the blue it reappeared. It started in small measures. Reading more than just the book club novel in a month, tentatively doing a little legal work, scribbling in my blog. And now a degree.
I should have been more patient, had more faith. My need to know had not gone anywhere, it was just taking a back seat whilst I focussed on other, more important tasks. And now I feel like I have to make up for lost time. I am sure that my enthusiasm must be palpable and I’m sorry if it’s irritating. I’m sure it will wear off a little as I progress. But for now I am just so delighted that what I believe to be a major part of my psyche is still there, that you will have to forgive me the old, self indulgent skip down the corridors of learning whilst I regain my composure!