Monday, October 01, 2007

Scarlet day

The new academic year has just begun and the weather has turned decidedly autumnal right on cue. I was feeling pretty lethargic last week and not at all looking forward to being pitched into the brief but very intense teaching term. But the city has been transformed over the weekend by the influx of new and returning students and there is a genuine buzz of excitement in the air. It's quite infectious, because for now at least I'm feeling quite positive about the term.

It might be because I was at the new undergraduates' matriculation dinner last night and it was hard not to be carried along by the mixture of pride, excitement and sheer terror that the new students are feeling at the thought of starting their degree courses. It's not so long ago -- I'd like to think -- that I was in a similar state myself. I seem to remember being particularly concerned about how to get the washing machines in the communal laundry to work; they were enormous great top-loading machines that had to be fed 50 pence pieces. They simply evened out the grime rather than properly washing things, so over the eight weeks your clothes became a uniform shade of grey. They would then emerge from the 20p guzzling 'driers' (enormous drums heated by alarming flames you could just glimpse if you peered round the back) slightly warm, damp, and grey...

But anyway, it's a very special time. In eight weeks or so we'll start interviewing for next year's intake, but for now we can concentrate on our current students and get them off to a good start in their first, or second, or whatever year.

This week is also a good time to be selling posters and toasters.

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