Today I saw many faces and had to raid my memory banks to retrieve the names that matched them - a bit like a child playing matching pairs with playing cards, you know, where they are all upside down, and you turn up two cards, if they match you get to keep them, if not they are turned upside down again. Keep going, remembering where all of them are until you've bagged the lot. Remember now? I think we used to call it Pelmanism, but don't quote me on that one.
So, it was a bit like that. Faces I hadn't seen since uni finished at the end of April, trying to put the correct names to them. I'm so bad at remembering! Goodness knows how I've managed to get to the start of my third, and final, year there. It's not as if I don't like the people, but their names just disappear. If you don't use it, you lose it, so they say, and that seems to be the case with names.
I'm the same with street names, names of towns and cities, countries, you name it (sorry, unintentional, honest!), and I can forget it. This at least proves that it's nothing personal, doesn't it? Yes, good, glad we're agreed. Please remember we had this conversation if I ever meet you for a second time, and can't remember your name. It will save any embarassment :)
So, there we all were, a bunch of second and third year students, hanging on every word our esteemed lecturers uttered. Well, not quite, obviously, we're students. One guy turned up only following a prompt from a student (yes, I know, they get paid to turn up, we just go out of duty), and the other was standing in for an absentee and simply went through parts of the handbook on screen.
But at least I got to look at the faces, and try to remember some names. Actually, it was good to catch up with some people and find out what had gone on over the sumer break, and discuss what was about to happen over our final year.
It's so hard to believe that this is it. The third and final year. I'm so lucky to have been able to persuade them to take an aged female like me on to the BA course, and to have proved myself capable of completing the workload. If any of my lecturers are reading this "thank you" for your input, and for helping to make the last couple of years so enjoyable.
So now the work really begins. I have a new lecturer to get to know next week. I've heard that she's successful and lovely, so I'm looking forward to it. She will be helping me to write for children.
I'm also looking forward to seeing Dinesh again, and discovering the gems he has to divulge this semester to improve my prose writing skills.
I've been very fortunate with my lecturers over the last two years. It makes a huge difference to have an approachable, knowledgeable member of staff in front of you. I've appreciated what I've learned from each of them, and know that I've improved as I've gone along, thanks, in part, to their valuable feedback.
If any of you are about to embark on a degree course, and would like a little advice, mine would be very simple.
1) Enjoy it - you're there for 3 years, select modules which interest you, it's your degree!
2) Read the tutor's comments on your essays etc. They're written to help you, and if you look on them that way, instead of thinking "Oh, they don't know what they're talking about, that was a good essay.", they become a useful tool to help you improve.
3) Take advantage of every course going that might help you - advice on writing a good essay, advice on time-management etc. A couple of hours or so spent on those are worth it, they'll help for then next 3 years!
4) Make sure you use the correct citation style from the beginning, that way you don't have to re-learn anything later.
5) Use your first year to lay down the skills you'll need in those vital final years. Much better to use this time to build up your confidence. Make your mistakes now, whilst it doesn't affect your degree marks!
6) Talk to your lecturer, or personal tutor if you're uncertain about something academic. It's a part of their job to help you. They are one of the best resourses the uni has to offer, it makes sense to avail yourself of them. You're paying for it, after all.
7) Aim high from the outset. If you don't achieve what you've aimed for, at least you'll still be quite high. If you aim for a 2:2 and don't achieve it you'll be miserable, and if you do achieve it, you'll wonder just what you might have done if you'd aimed just that little bit higher!
8) Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
9) Enjoy it some more; it's a great opportunity you're giving yourself.