Sunday, 26 September 2010

The sigh that blew me forward

From my notebook on Thursday:

Today was, perhaps, my last ever first day of school. Last ever because it was the first day of my PhD (and nothing really comes after a PhD), yet this statement is tentative because there will always be the possibility of me one day doing undergraduate work in science...

Getting ready this a.m. I felt all the nerves and excitement of 'first day' and I set off with my bag and campus map and schedule and mp3 player and a huge grin and light steps. Through the pouring rain my train travelled and then my bus and then a quick campus walk and then I was there and saying hello to the 9 other new English PhD students, all of whom seemed as nervous and quiet as me.

I'm amazed at how quickly it all came back to me--the endless coffees and arcane discussions about bibliography layout and enrollment and the mystery of James Joyce; the comparisons of previous study and funding woes and before long the exchange of emails and see-you-laters. Then it was back on the train through the beautiful dusk, blue-grey sky with no rain now.

My last first day of school. It was brilliant. It feels right. And in many strange ways it was not unlike my first first day at age five-and-a-half--new haircut and wearing my favourite shoes. Except this time without the Strawberry Shortcake buttons on a handmade dress, no nap-mat or new crayons (though there's always room for them, in case I need a creative boost along the way). Onwards now and into it, and as our helpful postgraduate advisor said--From now on it's just you and the library; good luck!

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