The adventure has already begun. And, to be honest, I’m starting to feel just a little unnerved. About a week ago, I finally received the details of my accommodation and the various bits of bumf from the residents association and the university’s finance office. I’ve now sent a cheque for two hundred pounds to secure my accommodation. This, along with my tuition fees, I had budgeted for. I hadn’t bargained on the following:

Join the Freshers’ Club Tour 2004 – a legend in Birmingham (my halls of residence are slap-bang next to Broad Street)! Only £15 for participation and a T-Shirt. Make the cheque payable to… And if you attend all thirteen events, you get another T-shirt and the respect of the third year residents.

Or any of these items (and they all came with the letters from the History department):

Join the History Society! £25 funds our sports activities and gets you cheap nights out for the next three years!

Go on the History society pub crawl! £3 gets you a T-shirt with the names of all the pubs in Broad Street on it, which you can tick off as we go!

(I get the feeling that, if this goes on, I won’t have to bring any clothes with me this year at all. I’m just waiting for the free underpants with Rock Soc membership…)

Join the Special History Library for £12 and get priority access to all the books on your reading lists!

Join the Birmingham branch of this national historical association that doesn’t have any immediate visible benefits but contains many like-minded individuals! (By the way, this is where I’m definitely drawing the line…)

Unfortunately, all these offers bar the last one look like they’re too good to miss; so now I have fifty-five pounds’ worth of cheques to write and I haven’t even got there yet. I’m dreading the Freshers’ fair.

But this is by no means what’s worrying me the most. I’ve got some real concerns to occupy myself. I’m a metal-head. I did mention this on my accommodation application form under ‘hobbies and interests’. What in the name of bloody hell am I doing in a flat near Broad Street (the lively, trendy end of the city)!? Is it because I profess a love of music generally? I hope so. Because, if it’s something of an administrative cock-up, this could mean I’m stuck in a flat with the sort of people that rub me up the wrong way: religious bigots, musical genre-whores and members of the Burberry cap set. The last thing I need is a chavvy born again Christian with a pedantic taste in avant-garde electronica for a flat-mate.

I may give up on the Club Tour halfway through and hide out in Edward’s No. 8. But knowing my luck, if I did, I’d come in half-cut on fetish night and wake up the next morning to find myself chained to a bed in a squalid room done up like a dungeon with my back carved up by a razor blade.

Of course, there’s also the usual late-adolescent angsty bit to deal with as well: am I going to find my place? Am I going to get on with my course-mates and neighbours? Am I going to get arse-raped in a back alley in Selly Oak? (For that matter, am I going to find I enjoy being the passive participant in non-consenting buggery?) The first two questions are given added weight by the fact that my best friends are still the ones I left behind in Doncaster five years ago. And most of them I’d only known for two years before I left. If I’ve failed to form bonds that close with people in Cambridge, despite having three years longer in which to do so, what are the chances of my finding my true calling in Birmingham?

I could have gone to Lampeter. They made me an unconditional offer. It may be a quiet little town in Wales but at least I could go for a walk outside the campus to clear my mind without having to worry about getting mugged. And the course is more varied too. Did I make a terrible mistake six months ago?

Unfortunately, there’s only one way to find the answers to these questions and that’s to take the plunge. Hell, it’s way too late to change my mind any way. My sword is slung on my baldric and my cloak is wrapped tight around my shoulders. The adventure has already begun, whether I like it or not.

I think I need a hug.


~ by Scary Rob on 3 September, 2004.

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