On Homecomings

eric roth

“It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed, is you.”

I came across this quote on tumblr a few days ago and my first thought was, ‘I better save this, I can definitely use it in a blog post’. My second thought was that it probably wasn’t Fitzgerald who wrote it, like many “quotes” from ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, it is not in fact our friend Scott who penned it but Eric Roth, the writer who adapted it for the screen. These misquotations, highly prevalent around this film in particular, are one of my pet hates (don’t even get me started on quotes from Troy masquerading as excerpts of ‘The Iliad’).

But I digress.

I think this quote captures really well how I felt about coming home for Christmas. Seeing my old town didn’t feel as strange as I thought it would, which conversely made it feel strange…but something did seem different, and it wasn’t until I read this quote that I realised what had changed, was me.

Hometown Glory aka Salisbury Cathedral (eat that Norwich)

Hometown Glory aka Salisbury Cathedral (eat that Norwich)

I can’t say I feel particularly wiser or more independent than I did before uni because I had already taken a year out and done all the ‘new adult things’ like doing the laundry and making dinner, so what has changed?

Well I’m doing the thing I love, studying literature, full time now, and that brings with it a sort of reassuring certainty. When relatives ask what I want to do in the future, whilst I’m not willing to write it in stone yet, I now have a pretty good answer and a plan of how to achieve it. I know what I want and how I’m going to have to work to get it – and that feels good.

Secondly, I’ve met loads of new people which never fails to broaden your horizons, even if that sometimes means learning strange things like badger culling practices in Devon (you know who you are).

And thirdly, university isn’t just about teaching you things, facts that can be accumulated in notebooks, university is about teaching you new ways to think altogether. It should make you challenge every assumption and seriously critique your own thought processes. Sometimes my lecturers say something and I think I can almost feel my brain working overtime to create new neuro-pathways to deal with this information, it’s not filling gaps in your knowledge but adding a whole new library wing of things you didn’t know you didn’t know. Walking around your home town feels like temporarily stepping into the past and trying to walk in a pair of shoes you’ve now outgrown, or at least that’s how it seems to me.

I don’t know if other students would agree, and I am interested to hear other people’s experiences of going home after their first term at uni. But right now, I really need to get some more reading done before I begin the great trek to Norwich next week.

Until then xxx

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Books I meant to read this holiday….

Books I actually read (and the top one doesn't count because there was only one short story I had to read from it)

Books I actually read (and the top one doesn’t count because there was only one short story I had to read from it)

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My 2014 – (through ever so slightly rose-tinted glasses)

Bonne année!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas full of fun, food and suitable festivities. I have perhaps, just a little, overindulged but if not at Christmas when, and as a student who is used to subsisting on Tesco’s essentials I made the most of having such wonderful food provided for free.

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An English Literature student’s Christmas

But now we are in that strange lull between Christmas and the New Year, a time which is naturally a reflective one.

This time last year I was preparing to move from being a part time Londoner to a full time one, I was worried about finding somewhere to live, people to live with, all whilst not being sure that this acting malarkey was what I really wanted to be doing. It was in short a very anxious time for me, and not one I wish to repeat.

Whilst I have finally accepted that drama isn’t my calling in life, I did have an incredible year, two shows in London, two in Edinburgh. The Fringe Festival was perhaps one of the most exciting months of my life that pushed me to the limits of both my physical and mental abilities; I did a show every night, walked about five miles every day ( a conservative guess), and saw more theatre than I think I have ever before seen in my life. I’d recommend everyone go at least once even if as an audience member rather than a participant.

Other highlights of this year include the significant other, starting uni, meeting the bonkers group of people I am privileged enough to call my friends, and being paid for the first time for my writing. So it’s not been too shabby.

I realise that I am so lucky to be surrounded by such warm, supportive people, I have found not only what I am good at, but what I am passionate about, and I am fortunate to be doing it at one of the best universities in the country (*slightly biased opinion*).  2014 has been one of, if not the, most important years of my life, and I’m all revved up to see what opportunities and experiences 2015 will bring.

I wish the same for you all,

Happy New Year everybody!

Two of the best gifts ever - a genuine Roman coin and a signed book of Robert Graves poetry!

Two of the best gifts ever – a genuine Roman coin and a signed book of Robert Graves poetry!

Home for Christmas

It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s been a week since the end of term.

I’m back in the Shire and it feels like nothing has changed at all, UEA seems as distant and fantastical as Narnia when I walk past my old college, and when I see old friends it is as though nothing has changed. Maybe it’s always like this or maybe I’ll acclimatise eventually, I suspect the former.

I also now understand why during my gap year my friend’s at uni seemed to go off the radar for months at a time, you really feel as though you’re in a separate world and coming home is vaguely unsettling. I’ve got too much free time and not enough to do, clearly I’ve adjusted to the pace of uni life.

But, what does need doing is reading for next term; my tutor last semester said to enjoy reading for pleasure over the holiday, but I have a four hundred page novel to read for one module, and another in which we will be reading a novel a week so it makes sense to get a head start now. One day I shall be able to read what I like, one day…

I was a little wary of my reading list for next term as it included books such as W.G. Sebald’s ‘Austerlitz’, whose reviews include these gems:

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But so far I’m actually enjoying it, although I do have three hundred pages still to go. I’ll keep you posted.

A few days ago I was talking to a friend from college who also had a gap year, and we both agreed that taking a break from our studies had made us a lot more invested when we finally got to uni, even long days seem worth it when you are doing the subject you love. Just a thought for anyone out there considering a gap year.

Christmas is almost upon us and so the frantic last minute present buying continues, best of luck to all of you on student budgets.

I think that’s all for now as I have reading to do and relatives to visit,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.