Back to School

September 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

I feel like I’ve gone back in time four years, or possibly 19. First day of the Watford course tomorrow, and I’ve come over all nostalgic about first days I have known before.

That’s me, on the right, 19 years ago on the morning of my first day at primary school. Don’t I look happy?

Of course like anyone else I wasn’t particularly happy at school. But at the point at which this photo was taken the only way was up, as far as I was concerned. School represented possibility unbounded.

My parents took the photo because the day represented a right of passage. And with any rite of passage, there’s no way back once it’s passed. A new life has begun.

Four years ago I underwent another rite of passage.

I don’t have a photo from my first day at university, but this was taken two weeks into my first term. It was my 20th birthday (I’m second from left), and inevitably I was celebrating it with people I hardly knew, feeling pretty awkward.

The difference is profound. Before my first day of school; happily optimistic. Beginning of university; filled with uncertainty.

University, the greatest experience of my life so far, filled me with uncertainty. Why? Where was the optimism of the four year old?

As adults, we understand this about rites of passage: you only get one go, so make it count.

The four year old on his first day of school doesn’t know this. To him school is just pure potential. The thought that he might balls it up never enters his mind.

Now I’m going back to school, and I’m going to do my best to act like a four year old.


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