“The shock of capture”, is an army expression which is used to describe the experience of hostages or prisoners of war during a conflict – it is the mixture of emotions gone through as a person moves from the usual to the unusual, as they realise the reality of the situation they have gotten themselves into.
It is was in this glassy-eyed state that my mother found me when she got home from work the day before I arrived at UEA. I had meant to spend the day packing but instead found myself staring into space for minutes at a time, completely unable to be decisive in anyway, dithering about which bag I should put toiletries in.
After a year of day dreaming what uni life was going to be like I was suddenly confronted with the reality of having to live it. A thousand thoughts rushed through my head; everything from worrying if I would get on with my flatmates to wondering whether I would need to bring coat hangers (which I did), and to be quite frank it was almost completely overwhelming.
For the past few months I had been bombarded with emails and facebook notifications, each reminding me to join a page, sign up for something, or buy some sort of fresher’s ticket, and my constant fear was that somehow I was going to miss the really important stuff – that maybe the day they explained how to be a student was going to be the day I had a doctor’s appointment. So I caved and bought fresher’s wristbands and only time will tell of they were worth it.
Thankfully, upon arrival I discovered that everyone is equally adrift. As a student on a drama undergraduate course I was asked to arrive at the same time as the international students (moving into a nearly empty flat was a strange experience) and soon found that everyone was asking if anyone else had the answers; where were we meant to be? Which events were worth going to? And did anyone know where the Student Union bar was?
So whilst I still don’t think I can speak with any authority on the matter, it’s good to know that university is a foreign land to everyone, and we’re all equally lost.
The new flatmates seem friendly enough