My final lecture was sat through. My final seminar was participated in.
I also completed my final essay – getting it finished a mere 6 days after the title choices were published (unlike my fellow students – the younglings – who will no doubt complete theirs a mere 6 hours before the final deadline).
I’ve waded through a reading list of 18 books this year and all have been codified and footnoted to within an inch of repetitive strain injury.
All that remains is a couple of revision seminars after Easter and my final exam sometime in May / June and then I’m done.
Although I’ve enjoyed taking this part-time degree, after 10 years of juggling study with full time work and full time life I’ve had enough. I hadn’t realized how exhausted I was feeling until I’d completed the essay and gradually woke up to the fact that I was effectively free. The sense of relief was amazing. The reality of being able to read what I want again for sheer pleasure is not to be underestimated. It’s wonderful and I’ve dived straight into some Philip K. Dick (Ubik) as an antidote to all the University texts that are swimming around in my head.
Don’t get me wrong, I will miss University. For all I’ve moaned about the other students – the non mature ones – it’s been interesting to hear what they have to say and how they view the world. It’s also been interesting to note how I’ve changed in how I interact with them. I started off feeling more like them than the other mature students I originally started with but now, here at the end, I truly feel a generation away from them. I’ve got older. And got older in my thinking. I’m not sure whether that scares me or not.
What I shall miss most of all though are the dreams.
I used to dream about school once in a while as a matter of course anyway. But while I’ve been back in the academic world my dreams about school have increased both in number and regularity.
And they’ve been great. I’ve never had a bad dream about school – even the obligatory “late for exam” dreams which I get but rarely have never been that bad. There’s always something fun about my school dreams (not sure why as I never found school particularly fun when I was actually there). But then there’s an added element to my school dreams... Somehow they have become inseparably fused with the world of Harry Potter.
No matter whether I am at Junior school, Secondary school, college or University, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are regular colleagues. It’s bizarre. Yes I am a fan of the films and I’ve read the novels but it’s weird how and why this crossover has occurred.
Evidently the world of Harry Potter resonates deeply with my subconscious.
Possibly that says that even in curmudgeonly adulthood I still retain a childish need for escapism, and fantasy. I don’t at all see that as a bad thing.
But thank God I grew out of reading the Famous Five and Mallory Towers back when I was 9... at least Harry Potter has some adult themes! I’m not sure I could cope with having regular dreams about "midnight feasts" and friends who say "Golly gosh" all the time.
I much prefer "Expelliarmus" and chocolate frogs...