Skip to main content

The Big Smoke: A Little Pilgrimage

Three weeks ago I began an MA in The Contemporary at the University of Kent, in Canterbury. I was somewhat familiar with the place prior to arriving, having applied here at undergraduate level and attended two open days (one of which was where I met one of my closest friends, Jess), and also visited said friend (who I now live with) (weird.) Nevertheless, the new place with new people and new reading lists have kind of kept me bogged down.

Admittedly, I was so scared and shy to begin with. It all felt very alien to me (even my own shyness, since I'm not usually very shy - or if I am, I manage to hide it well) and after my first seminar I felt very, very out of my depth. I had to sit and breathe and think "can I actually do this?"

Turns out this is completely normal. Not only did most other people feel like this, my first seminar was massively hindered by the fact I was so ill with the infamous Freshers' Flu so I didn't feel very alive and with it. And for some fever-induced reason, I volunteered myself for the first presentation for the following week. Somehow, this was really good for me. It kicked my butt in gear, it forced me to go to see my tutor, it made me work hard and read academically again. Honestly, past Claire made good fever-induced choices that day.

I also think visiting London and seeing Rachel and Nicky did me a lot of good. Rachel and I are the perfect chalk and cheese for rationalising each other. If I panic, I call her, and vice versa. It was also just so, so, so lovely to see two familiar faces. And since Nicky is doing an MA at UCL, we both had a pep talk about reading and such.

I've also met some lovely people, who are all so incredibly interesting and diverse. They know so much, and they also want to learn and grow and everyone is in the same boat. None of us know entirely what we're doing, none of us feel like we can take on the whole Canon and write a masterpiece - hell, none of us can blurt out something in a seminar that's going to change the Academy or indeed the world. But we're trying; we're trying to put thoughts into sentences, and share what we love, and grow as people and writers. And that's what's made this whole experience so far so much fun. Because I can learn so much from others, and I genuinely really enjoy hearing what people are passionate about, because it validates and motivates my passion and energy too.

I honestly should go and crack on with some reading now, but I guess the point of this post is that you have to do things that scare you a little a bit, because otherwise you will never get to meet great people, hear great things, and grow into a (hopefully) greater person.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Today I am: a fire-breathing Queen

As you can probably guess from my lack of posting, Master's degrees are hard. Speaking to my fellow MA buddies, we can't quite pin-point what it is that is making us perpetually stressed but there's just something about them that seems to eat up all of your time ever. And don't even get me started about 'thinking about the future'.

I somehow forgot that one of my favourite things to do to relax is to take a bath. Earlier last term when our shower broke (yay student housing), we were confined to baths - and I vowed that I would take more as soon as the shower was fixed and not just fall back to showering. But alas, I did. 

Baths have always been kind of special to me; forever have they been places of chats, giggles, relaxing, music, and such a treat. For a couple of years I couldn't get out of the bath unassisted because of my back, so to be able to leap forth out of the tub with a gracious gazelle-like leap (I lie) is a privilege. I also used to not be able t…

A Librarian and a Penguin

These past couple of days have been very poignant for me. I heard of the passing of Mike Sutton, who worked at Harrogate Library and showed me the ropes as a bright eyed and bushy tailed fifteen year old on work experience. That week's work experience introduced me to the Young Volunteer scheme which I was part of for about five years; I met so many great people through it, had some laughs and grew as a person. Not to mention that over the years Harrogate Library has been a big staple in my life: providing me with books, friends and a place where I did most of my revision back in my A Level years.

Mike and I spoke now and then, in person and every now and then online. No matter how he was feeling, he always greeted me with a smile when I came into the library and asked how I was. I also am so very aware how much he meant to his colleagues, who will miss him incredibly.

The past couple of days I've also been reading a beautiful and sweet little book called The Penguin Lessons b…

Feeling stressed? Avobath

My next escapade into the Lush bath-bomb world was the wonderfully named Avobath. Admittedly, I did use this bath-bomb a while ago... weeks ago... and I haven't had time to write up anything until now. Why? Essays. Stressful essays. (Did I mention Master's are tough? No...?)

The avobath is lovely, because it smells fresh (I definitely don't do sugar-sweet smells) and that just intensifies as it hits the warm water. I'd had a particularly rough day when I decided I'd use this one, and it just made the bathroom smell heavenly. Costing only £3.50, too the avobath comes in 25p cheaper than my previous BBOC (bath-bomb of choice) Dragon's Egg.

A little less exciting than my last pick, but nevertheless still heavenly to the nose and skin, the avobath was incredibly moisturising and calming. Just what you need around this busy exam and deadline time!!

I've only actually got two (EEK) months left, including May, in my student house so I need to use all the bathing o…