Unexpectedly the gears on this thing called a university education have switched up, and we are hurtling toward the end of term paper which, rumour has it, will be something extra. Once done, we happy few who attend this faculty will tumble out into the world for a full year on work placement. Then we will return in year four and finish our degrees. But that is an eternity away, and the work year is between me and that.
I have to admit that it feels strange that in a short time, I will stop being a second-year student. Where did time go? It was just yesterday when I, Abbie, and Ben hung slumped over the fence next to the Rugby field at our old college, complaining about boredom and silly teachers.
We, these three musketeers, met up once more in Ben’s room in the hall. You have to understand that Ben treats his room like it is his own personal castle. With a set of parents who were less suitable for parenthood, according to him, he is very proud of his room.
He had spent a considerable amount of time painting the wall behind his bed into a pleasing soft peach colour. And then he had decorated the wall with golden picture frames, small ones. He wanted to show us, and brag, and puff up about his room. I enjoy seeing him like this. Back in college, he rarely invited us home. There was always a risk that his dad would sway in the hallway, drunk.
We see so little of Abbie these days. A shape in the crowd as the lecture ends and everyone exits the hall. A silhouette in the hallway as we pass from one room to the next. A quick hello in a stairway, and an equally quick inquiry about how things have been. But, he has his own clique now. His own crowd. He happily joins back with us, but it happens rarely now. That makes me a bit sad. We were so certain that once we entered this institution, we would be inseparable as always.
I’m happy for him, because he is so relaxed today. Unlike the high-strung person we once knew. Back when he was in the closet and was afraid his parents would find out about him. The closet has such a way to stunt or agitate a life. I know how it was for me, and I was never worried that my parents would disown me. Okay, that’s wrong, because in the middle of the night those thoughts occurred to me too, but they weren’t real worries.
And now, in less than a month, I and Abbie and Ben will most definitely part ways. Abbie will be a communicator at a charity. Ben will dive into the administrative depths of an obscure journal in London. And I… I will take my first steps along the paths of journalism.
I am still split about whether I want to be a journalist, but going to where I’m going, I’ll have a clip for my future CV. I will be able to put it on the list. Or perhaps, if I like it and I’m lucky, I won’t have to write a CV at all. Maybe I’ll just be allowed to stay, with pay. That, however, seems unlikely. When I met the editor of the journal, the operation seemed very down-market and poor. More high-brow thinking than high-level pay. Ah, the curse of academic journalism.
Just a month left then, and then a couple of months of vacation, and then I’ll be on the first wrung of my real life. Exciting, isn’t it? I may even have to stop trying to sell over-priced trousers to underpaid workers in my H&M job. As Mark is doing the honours thing, he will be staying at school. His degree is truly four years, and not pretend four-years as mine is. If we didn’t have this work-year, I would be looking at my last year now. But fear not, he says, I can commute. I just have to find a way to pay for a train card.