This week, I returned to University after a four month break. You would think that such a long time off would be a good thing but it’s not. For the first two months, you’re really excited because you can watch and read all these things you’ve had to put aside whilst attending Uni. And then, at about mid-January the boredom sets in. There’s a feeling that you should be doing something with your life as opposed to finishing Girls s2 in a day (although it was amazing). For those of us jobless, it’s even worse because you have to face rejection from all the places you tried to get a job that all require experience. You become desperate to return to Uni, to see all your friends, to learn new things and to just simply have something to fill your days and give your life purpose. The problem is you forget all the awkward things.
On Monday, I had to get up at 6 for an 8 o’clock class (because the buses weren’t running as frequently because it was a public holiday that the University doesn’t observe) and was still late for the class. My first class, Script Writing, was all right but a little boring because it was mainly introductions. Straight after this was my second class, Fiction Writing, where I met several of my closest friends from last year again but this soon descended into a two-hour talk about the readings we had to do for that. Most of the people hadn’t done them. I had, which was awkward because the tutor looks to you every time class goes a bit dry, hoping that you’ve found something in the readings, a way to kick start discussion up again. This was a bigger problem in high school, because people just thought I was a teacher’s pet. It never occurred to them that if they did the readings then this wouldn’t be a problem. At Uni, you don’t get this as much but because I’ve been told this so many times, it becomes internalised and you grow fearful that all your friends are going to turn away from you or think you’re showing off. Not a pleasant feeling.
I then had a break for an hour where I caught up with some friends before my third and final class of the day; Children’s Literature. Now, I love Lit classes, I really do, it’s just that sometimes they’re a teensy bit soul-destroying. They take a text and proceed to rip apart, forcing you to see the injustices within the text or the world itself. It’s like your entire world is thrown out the window. In the first year, it was incredibly difficult for me. I came from a Catholic All-Boys school where religion was taught and homosexuality was hidden and issues like feminism and racism were never talked about. I had to make up my own ideas and try to see the world in a different way, challenging my own beliefs about certain things. I went to Uni (however piously) believing that I was an incredibly enlightened person and had survived the ordeals of high school remarkably well.
And then Lit class happened. Religion was derided, homosexuality was embraced, feminism and racism are still issues. It was like someone had taken a hammer and smashed all the principles that I hold dear. I’ve spent much of my time since trying to realign myself and become a more properly enlightened individual but it’s hard. However, the hardest part comes when they take a text you like and destroy it utterly.
Two texts I loved were covered last year. One was Charlie And The Chocolate Factory which survived relatively unscathed (Augustus is apparently just applying to racial stereotypes and Mr Wonka may be more of a capitalist businessman than is initially obvious, but I can cope with that and make spirited defences to the contrary). The other, however, did not. The Lion King, one of mine and many other people’s favourite movies, was torn to shreds. It was racist and sexist and the scene with Scar and the Hyenas looks like Nazis. And talking about Scar, he’s apparently gay (which as the villain is not good) but so are Timon and Pumba (which acts as a metaphor for same-sex parenting). Even now when I watch this movie I can’t see these things in it. I just can’t. The only way I was able to deal with this class was that I had good friends in it, able to support me enough to point out inconsistencies as well as defend its honour. With such a class as Literature, which is simultaneously incredibly enlightening and soul-destroying, you need to have friends there. In my third class on Monday, I did not. I had an acquaintance, but we don’t know each other that well.
It was hell. Miracle On 34th Street and Shrek were torn apart on the grounds of feminism. And everyone in the class could see sexism in these texts and I just can’t. Which makes you feel really stupid and the fact that you like these texts makes you think that you’re a teensy bit sexist yourself, which is the worst feeling in the world. Especially when you’re family goes off at you because you won’t shut up about how sexist that add is or how racist that news story was. The way to look at this is that this is more for me to learn, but my brain doesn’t go there. It goes to panic stations. I was alone and stupid and with a growing headache.
The class took forever and when it was over, I had the mother of all headaches and was exhausted. After limping back to the bus stop (limping because of a long and mildly amusing story that was originally going to be this post but I didn’t think it could sustain the whole length), I realised I had 45 minutes to wait for the bus and felt incredibly sick. I stood for 5 minutes feeling worse and worse, until I eventually sat down and instructed myself to breathe. This worked and my headache eased. The problem, now though, was that I was incredibly tired. The bus came about 10 minutes later and I really had to force myself not to fall asleep (I was sort of nodding off, falling in and out of consciousness. What was really weird was that the radio was playing the Beatles so I had a weird dream about Luka In The Sky With Diamonds). I walked home and collapsed on a couch in the lounge, reflecting on how much of a fail my first day was.
I love Uni, I really do, because it makes you more aware of the world around you but at the same time, this is like a wrecking ball to your heart. It’s exhausting but brilliant. I just wish someone else was with me in that class to take that journey with. I’m sure I’ll make some friends, but it’s always hard at this stage. I hope it gets better and soon.
Anyway, that’s what’s really been bugging me this week and I know it’s not much of a story or a soapbox discussion, but it was either this or a discussion about how watching too many good things in a row isn’t as great as it sounds. It’s a bit of a pointless discussion though. This isn’t much better, but yeah, I thought some of you might relate to this better. Maybe. Oh, and this week’s Fright Night Friday will be heavily influenced by St. Patrick’s Day which is next week. Thought I might just give you a bit of a taste. Anyway, see you next week!
The Playlist Of 5 Mar – 11 MarAfterlife (Ingrid Michaelson)
Empty Handed (Lea Michele)
Animals (Martin Garrix)
Colours Of The Wind (from Pocahontas)
The Top 10 Films Of 5 Mar – 11 MarLove Me Tonight
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
Nosferatu, A Symphony Of Horror
Children Of Men
Struck By Lightning