First day of uni, and a happy one

Today went well. I wasn’t expecting that. I’d hoped it might go all right, but I actually had a very good time. Thanks to all the people who sent me nice messages, both on and offline – I really appreciate it. 

I’m staying at my uncle’s flat in Willesden, and after a tense half-hour tube journey it was into the auditorium for initial introductions. The head of the campus and another official gave a couple of waffly let-me-offer-my-congratulations-on-choosing-this-wonderful-university speeches, then the (humanist) Dean gave a much more interesting and applicable talk, imploring us to take full advantage of London. She also mentioned that a fire destroyed an entire campus building back in July1, and they apparently built a new temporary building with the same capacity and equipment in just six weeks: it was certified as ready for access on Monday. Impressive. She also asked how many people in the room were from the UK, and we were by far the minority, which was cool. 

We then separated into subject groups, and there turned out to be just over twenty people taking my part-time photography course. I quickly spotted all the people from my interview group, and tried not to feel too embarrassed at the memory. We were introduced to the course leader, and soon afterwards came the inevitable ‘give us a two-minute introduction to yourself’, which I (and everybody else, from what I could tell) hated, but at least it’s over now 🙂 I was still very nervous at this stage and felt myself shaking a little. More workings of the course were explained and then, suddenly, I started to relax. I began to feel more like me, rather than the gawky, irritating meta-Andrew who turns up in such situations. Which was yay.

Then came the relatively painless process of collecting ID cards, after which there were a couple of hours for lunch. We’d all been separated by the enrollment process, so I headed down to the canteen and grabbed a sandwich. A couple of people I recognised were sitting at a table nearby, but I didn’t want to barge in. They were soon joined by a few others, and I made myself do the same before my brain could chicken out. Of course, everybody turned out to be very pleasant and friendly, and we soon went exploring around the campus, including the very entertaining fresher’s fair. We got chocolate from Evil Pyramid Scheme Man, and a very nice lady fetched me a lollipop 🙂

The afternoon session saw us draw words from a hat, following which we had 45mins, in groups of two, to walk around campus and take a photo that represented said word. Ours were ‘short’ and ‘spacious’, so we took a shot of some missing change, and a wide-angle jumping picture in Northwick Park 🙂 I’m a pony; it’s my trick.

I guess I’m still used to the school and college way of working. I was surprised when we were actively encouraged to book and use the equipment for our own personal projects. I’d assumed this would be ok, but I hadn’t realised it would be what the equipment is for. This will likely sound obvious to anyone who’s been to university, but the modules are really teach us how to think about and use our cameras, rather than an end in themselves. I’d guessed this might be the case, but I didn’t know they’d actively support our external development. It’s a shift I wasn’t expecting, and a very cool one.

I’m currently trying to stop my brain second-guessing every conversation I had, and winning so far. We’re off to the Tate Modern tomorrow, which will be a new experience for me. Four years seems a lot shorter than it did this morning.

  1. ceramics coursework was apparently pulled intact from the rubble []