Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Post-Degree High

The invigilator, a bald man who had customised his facial features with a greying goatee and square, thick-rimmed glasses, stepped up to the lectern and calmly announced that time was up and we were obliged to put our pens down. I had finished about five minutes before hand, running rather dry on material for the last question, but this was the official end. The entrance to Central Hall, where exams are sat, is from below, meaning at the start of the exam you emerge into the hall up a flight of stairs, creating a strange gladiator-entering-the-arena type feeling. With answer booklets collected, the invigilator once more leant towards the microphone. 'You may now leave...' The surge towards the door started, accompanied by a crescendo of 'how'd you find it's'. As we headed down the stairs, back into the bowels of the academic stadium, the invigilator again; '...and enjoy your afternoon'.

Your afternoon indeed! I've just completed my degree. I've got the next six and a half weeks off. A month and a half. 44 days. '... and enjoy your afternoon'.

I collected my stuff up and headed out into the afternoon sun. I started wandering around campus on the pretext of getting some money out to get a sandwich, but there wasn't the usual purpose in my stride. I ambled. People scurried past me, anxious to get somewhere, fast. My vision, that had been firmly directed straight down onto revision notes the past few weeks, seemed as if it could scan 360 degrees, without me as much as turning my head. I was taking everything in, not in a detailed processing sense, but in a more general appreciative manner. The trees swaying in the breeze, the sun glinting off the metal railings across the bridge, the stolid brown serenity of the lake. It must have been some kind of post-degree high.

So what am I going to do for the next month and a half? Good question. For starters, read... lots. Back in first year there was a time when I was getting through a couple of 200 page books a week. If I can get back to near that kind of prolificness I'd be pretty happy. I also intend to take advantage of the fact that we have all seven series of The West Wing in our house, though getting through all seven is probably wishful thinking. In a couple of weeks there's the World Cup, during which I intend to chant and rant against England enough to wind up my mates, but not enough for them to turn on me and savagely kick my Scottish ass back where it came from (which is England anyway, so the jokes on them). Then in the last two weeks of term they can return the favour by berating Andy Murray as he fails to win Wimbledon again. For any other spare time? Beer should do the trick.

To the completion of my degree...

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