Since reading Fahrenheit 451 almost two weeks ago, I have not managed to sit down and read a single chapter of any book. How depressing….
Every few days I would become aware of this and desperately read a section from any book I could get my hands on. (This included the introductory pages of cookery books and once, I admit, I read an instruction manual front to back). These past two weeks have seen me delve into ‘Middlemarch’, Dylan Thomas and John Gray’s ‘Straw Dogs’ with a determined panic to dedicate at least an hour to reading. Alas, I have been busy. This last week I have spent in Liverpool (the best city ever in the world), where until recently I went to University. I have now graduated, which means that (apart from me now being kind of a big deal), I have had very little free time to just sit and read. Instead, I have proudly paraded around campus in my gown, had pictures taken of me in front of every single building I ever entered in my three years, and sat, incredibly nervously, in the Philharmonic Hall waiting to receive my degree. The ceremony provoked an odd mixture of feelings. I felt like I was going to laugh at the sheer pomposity of the processions and ceremonial speeches, but I also felt very proud. Proud that I had made it through all of the late nights in the library, crying into my Tesco meal deal, very very proud of myself for getting up at 7:00 (an achievement that frankly rivals my degree), and really quite shocked that despite all the procrastination that cat videos and daytime TV provided, I had still managed to crawl my way through my exams with sanity intact and obesity levels low. (Imagine a Golum type figure dragging itself through life clutching a pack of cookies, and you will have pictured me during revision week).
Of course, my illusions of grandeur experienced during the ceremony were short-lived. Upon arrival at the marquee I lost my family. Enter full blown panic. Whilst all my friends were busy throwing their mortar boards in the air and enjoying the free bubbly, I was getting pretty desperate. So desperate in fact that I found myself stood at the front of the marquee, head hung in shame, whilst someone with a microphone asked for ‘the family of Ellie Wriglesworth’ to come collect me. I had just graduated at the grand old age of 20, and I was a lost child in a supermarket. For the rest of that day I blankly refused to leave their side again, and the festivities continued.
Graduation from University is a lovely day; an opportunity for you to share your achievement with friends and family, and it is probably the only day that you can indulge in the fantasy you went to Hogwarts without people thinking you’re a bit mental. It is also a bit sad though. The realisation hits that;
1) Watching ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ with your equally hungover housemates is no longer an acceptable way to spend the entire day.
2) Eventually you have to widen your diet from plain pasta and cereal to something a bit more wholesome.
3) A job is inevitable. There are no more student loans. Time to be responsible and stop spending large amounts of money buying unnecessary dresses.
4) Your time can no longer be split between watching Oscar acceptance speeches on youtube and writing essays.
5) Chances are you won’t be living with your friends anymore. Of course this has upsides, namely – there will be no more passive aggressive notes left on the fridge berating people for not washing the dishes, entering the kitchen will no longer involve avoiding a mouse trap or trying to detect where the horrific smell is coming from, and loud music at 4am is a thing of the past. But… you don’t live with your friends anymore. The people that have shared three years of drunkenness and laughter with you, the people who know to leave you alone in the mornings, the people you can go to with your problems, the people you can have random and ridiculous conversations with, and the people who you want to know for the rest of your life, are no longer a room away.
6) University, and everything it entails is over. That is a pretty hard pill to swallow.
Having gone through all the stages of post Uni life – (denial, anger, excessive eating, crying, staring into space etc etc) I am about to go travelling around Europe with my bestest friend in all the land. Life is, once again, good. My plan for while I am away is to post as regularly as I can. I am going to try and still revolve the posts around literature if possible but the really cool bit is going to happen when I arrive home. My aim is to read something related to every city I have visited.
Next stop, Berlin.