I was watching The Waltons the other day and I came to the classic episode “The First Day” which is about John-Boy’s first day at Boatwright University. I always enjoy watching it, because it always reminds me of my own first days of university and so I felt inspired to write about the start of my time at Bath Spa University.
I would write about my first day specifically, but the truth is, I can’t really remember it. I can remember my first time on the campus (that was during Freshers’ Week), which was pretty nice. I went along with my (then new, now old) friend Tulin and they had turned the Student’s Union into a kind of night club. I remember speaking to a couple of people and I remember somebody telling the pair of us that we should be making more effort to interact with other people (because obviously, they said, the two of us had known each other for ages).
But I’m not sure that really counts as the first real day. I can vaguely remember the car ride in – an old schoolmate drove me, as she lived in the same town and was going there too. It was a sunny day and I was quite excited. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I felt that it was the beginning of a new era of life and anything could happen.
I can remember, on one of the first days, sitting to have lunch with a table of people I didn’t know – one of them I’d been talking to and had invited me. None of us knew each other and I didn’t feel that comfortable. I thought to myself that I wasn’t likely to form any meaningful connections with them if I just sit among them all at a table and don’t get a chance to interact with them individually. Turns out I was right, because I never saw any of them again and I can’t picture any of them.
The campus, during those first few days, seemed like this far away, unknown location. An unfamiliar environment as I branched off to new horizons. It’s funny because, less than a year later, I felt it to be a comfortable and familiar environment and now I think of it as a sentimental and nostalgic environment.
I remember the end of my first day quite clearly too. I was tired. Very tired and I wondered how I was going to do that every day. Especially as I had to get the buses back and that meant two of them. But as it turned out, it was never a problem. For all the uncertainty of my first days, university turned out to be one of the loveliest times of my life. Not at all taxing or tiring.
On Monday, I’ll have another first day. The first day on a new job. Although I am sure it will seem different and maybe imposing, I can’t wait for the inevitable feeling of comfort and familiarity once I am settled.