Back To School!

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms spaghetti…” Eminem – Lose Yourself

I woke up at 4:40 this morning, a full 2 hours before my alarm was set. My internal clock always wakes me up super early whenever I have an exciting event to look forward to. Holidays, game days, Christmas Eve – anything that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time elicits the same reaction. Running a bath, I smiled at how little I’ve changed over the years. I went to bed early last night, much like I used to, not because I wanted to ensure I’d be up in time, but because the onset of sleep felt like I was forcing time to accelerate.

After my bath, I wolfed down my lunch for breakfast (another thing I’ve done since childhood), filled my backpack and made my way to the bus station. The weather on the walk was glorious. A proper autumn morning, with the blazing sun not providing as much heat as I would like. The smile that has been plastered to my face since I woke up isn’t moved when the bus driver ignores my stop. Nothing is dislodging that smile, or my happiness today.

I make my train at 7:24 – just making my train despite being up for hours is another classic of mine – and post this on social media:

Train insta

Today was my first meeting at the University of Sheffield, where I will be studying an MA in English Literature. There were 2 meetings this morning and a drinks reception later. I feel the same way I used to when Christmas rolled around. I’ve been walking around, taking random pictures

octagon centre2

of nothing in particular.


As a mature student, I am determined to enjoy my time at university. It feels like I’ve never left education. Between school, university and teaching, about 80% of my life has been spent teaching or learning. This is the first time in a long time that I feel joyful about spending my days in an educational institution.

I’ve talked about it a lot, but I always enjoyed educating children. It was the things that came with teaching, the jealousy, the pettiness, the things that are in every workplace, that soured me on the profession. The chance to be a student and blissfully naïve of all of that has me giddy. I’m already looking forward to buying books and filling them full on annotations, getting into spirited debates about why Nelly Dean is the only villain in Wuthering Heights, or what educational institutions owe to the cities that they are in (I was extremely excited to hear the Head of Faculty mention that it was an expectation that all members of the university give back to the city). I’m looking forward to giving oral presentations and having a tutor tell me that what I have written needs editing. Most of all, I’m looking forward to be in a place where the teachers and students celebrate the pursuit of knowledge. The University of Sheffield has a superb reputation and the thought of being a part of it is invigorating.

Wait For It from Hamilton is playing as I type this. It’s just got to my favourite part of the song, where Burr sings,

I am inimitable, I am an original

The best thing about my first day of school is that those lyrics match my feelings exactly. I feel intoxicated by the vast array of opportunities this year offers to me. Ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures: I’m looking forward to all of it.

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