I don’t pray to God, though I do practice my own little ritual every night. I’m committed to an idea, and it all began with a pledge. A pledge I made when I first came to London three years ago and embarked on an undergraduate course. I was to study the human genetics at England’s “Godless University”, UCL. Little did I know then that I would learn less about the material of life than life itself. Fast-forward heartbreaks, triumphs, meltdowns and laughter (all accompanied by a severe lack of sleep) I’ve still managed to stick to it. Despite being warned that ‘it gets harder with time’, I’ve found it remarkably easy to remain faithful. I’m loyal to the promise that I can never end a day without being able to name something new that I’d done (or heard). It doesn’t have to be life-changing, it can take the form of a useless fact- so long as it adds to the experience of learning. Take yesterday’s example: cats are lactose intolerant. People even purchase (and consume) their milk because it is lactose-free! But at the moment cat-facts are one of the many enumerations accumulating in my bed-night list. I probably gathered enough these last 7 days to last me the entire year. And who would have thought it would be thanks to repeating an event? That’s because my two Freshers weeks have nothing in common: except for feeling lost, being late, and going with the flow.
If we take Sunday as the inaugurating day- things went by fairly quiet. Not that it wasn’t exciting- its not everyday you get to meet two Nobel laureates of literature. I’m a steward at the Shakespeare globe and though the season ended- they decided to make an exceptional opening for the world premiere of ‘A Burial at Thebes’. Written by Seamus Heaney, staged by Derek Walcott and composed by Le Gendre, it was a promising opera. But despite an attempt to spice things up with a Caribbean setting, a voodoo dancer and a rapping king, the evening didn’t rise above the mundane. The poor tourists endured the boredom ninety minutes, but a Shakespearean audience would have probably thrown tomatoes.
But if Sunday lacked excitement, Monday was overcharged. Intellectually, its all new, interesting, and also baffling. You see, to be trained a scientist doesn’t train you to be a humanities student. So although I love discussing ideas in class- I’m still trying to get my head round what the teachers want. Nevertheless, getting Simon Singh (the guy who wrote ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’) as your first seminar guest is promising for the course. His advice was helpful, but the gossip-girl in me couldn’t help wanting to hear about his recent lawsuit instead. Finally, class in the classroom ended at 6… to be transferred to the union. After six hours of pints and curry I was ten friends the richer and happy to hug my bed.
Now I don’t have a lot of lecture days, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to do. I mean, one’s got to sleep for the first half of the day- which means I then have to complete my tasks twice as fast. It doesn’t help if you’ve scheduled a visit to the registry. Whoever hasn’t yet paid them a call should- if not for the sake of us who know everyone’s name in the queue- then for acquiring a great ice-breaker for their next Freshers party.
Its now Saturday, and after meeting all these new fabulous (and some not so fabulous) people, experiencing all these new activities, and learning loads of useless trivia- I think its only healthy to not forget the former, to still revere and love it, and so I’m off to a get-together of my old uni friends.