Saturday, 29 June 2013

Day 416 - Alas, poor Warwick!

Preface: I know this is three days late, for which I beg pardon, but time has been running away from me, what with packing up, the long car journey and evenings where I wasn't at my computer at all. In my defence, the events of the last few days merit posts all to themselves, so you're getting four updates today as compensation for my having skipped three.

Where do I even begin with a post like this, in which I attempt to encapsulate the nuances, idiosyncrasies and had-to-be-there moments of the last three years? Well, methinks I actually ought to commence this semblance of a narrative some six years ago, when I was still at my first secondary school. I haven't gone into my experiences at this school in too much detail before now because, aside from the friends I made, I didn't have the best time, as you will read in the story below...

In my final year at the school (Year 10) I had the honour of being chosen as Head Girl, one of two representatives for the student body, and knowing that my fellow pupils trusted me to be the voice of their concerns. Along with regular meetings with the Headteacher, the primary extracurricular aspect of the role required that both I and the Head Boy, Chris, attend any official events on behalf of the 130 or so other students. Since our school, Treloar's, was founded by its namesake, Lord Mayor Treloar, in 1908, the chief of these events has been the annual visit of whoever is the current Lord Mayor. Now, whatever issues I may have with the politics behind the position of Lord Mayor, I was very excited by the prospect of this visit, not least because I hoped it would provide me with the opportunity to smash some of the stereotypes surrounding the education of young people with disabilities. I was in the middle of my first year of GCSEs, and looking forward to discussing my aspirations with some of the members of this rather stuffy party. Over the dinner we shared I did just that, finding them to be surprisingly human, and engaging in a philosophical debate with a particularly lovely lady, whose name I now can't recall. Imagine my dismay, then, when, during post-dinner discussion, that same woman asked my fellow tour-guide, Ms. Huddart, 'whether someone like Jessi could go to university'. The question was fair enough, and it showed her interest in my scholarly future, so I didn't mind her asking. What bothered me was Ms. Huddart's response - 'Well, perhaps not at 18, but maybe at 25.'

This lengthy preamble will hopefully serve to illustrate my feeling of elation when I received my (overwhelming) results on Tuesday - because they are evidence that I not only went to university and got a degree, but that I did so by the age of 21. I feel I no longer have anything to prove, and that's amazing. The fact that this degree occurred in the company of many wonderful groups of people, doing many wonderful things, is something for which I will be forever grateful. From being in the chorus of, and assistant directing, operas, through shenanigans with Shakespeare and being lucky enough to call myself a member of 'The Fam' (possibly the best course cohort ever to grace Warwick University campus), it's impossible to distil the wonder that has been the last three years into a single ramble. Hence the title of this post - because, whilst I am a very happy bunny to be home and to have permission to relax, I can't quite fathom that it's over and I won't be going back in October.

So, in true literary (and academic) spirit, I'm going to filch someone else's (namely Charles Dickens') words to fashion a fitting epitaph for my degree:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. (A Tale of Two Cities, Vol. I,  ch. i)
 I hope my dear Warwicensis will accept this - at any rate, it's been grand, and I love you for it.

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