I have a recurring nightmare. It is the first day of term at University. I can’t find the department building and I know I have to pick up my timetable. When I eventually find the place, it turns out I have an essay due, and I don’t even understand the title.
I think it goes back to the deep-seated fears I still have about University. That I didn’t study hard enough, and that I didn’t really fit in with those people on my course. I made some of the best friends I have ever had at Uni, but none of them were Theology students. I guess I imagined I would meet other people. people on my course, who would stay my friends forever… Instead, I found they didn’t like me much. (There is one exception, and she is still a friend on facebook. She, I think, embodies Christ in the world… although I often only ever asked her for notes before an essay was due. She has continued in her ministry, and I am thankful for her – Kath Black – every day)
It is at about this time of year when I remember those first weeks at Uni. I see my A-Level students head off for bright futures and I wish I could give them the advice I felt I never had… But I’m still not sure what it is… I was lucky. I loved the place even before I arrived. In the first 10 minutes I met a girl in halls, who, although I don’t know her now, made me feel welcome. In the early days I found that the East End girl I was so wary of, was actually a gift from God, and we have been sisters ever since. We were next-door neighbours and I know that God ordained that, and made it so.
University life was hard. I was often lost and sad and alone. I drank too much to cover my fears… I found comfort in my room (the first room I’d ever had to myself) but even that wasn’t a real comfort. I wish I had been more mature, but I don’t regret a single minute.
A lot of my facebook friends watched ‘Fresh Meat’, recently. They all said how like Lampeter it was. I’m not sure. What I do know is that, even though I remember so little of it, it made me the person I am now. And I’m glad of that.