This week I registered as a Masters research student at the University of Nottingham. The last time I did this was September 2002, during Freshers’ Week, in the Sports Hall. Back then, I’d not been out of education, never lived away from home (or, indeed, moved house), knew virtually no Russian and wouldn’t describe myself as a heavy metal fan.
Oh, how times change! Now, I’ve been listening almost exclusively to Russian metal since 2005, have 2:i Bachelors Honours degrees not only in German and Russian but also Quantity Surveying and Construction Commercial Management, and have moved house four times, not including the initial move out of my parents’ house (which was more of a sidle than a move as such). I also registered online, which is new.
I’ve had a total of four years out of education: a year between my first and second degrees, and three years since I graduated in 2012. It doesn’t feel like three years though: this Masters has been six years in the planning, really, with the past two or three years really being full-on work. The first time, I couldn’t wait to get into work: out of the relatively cash-poor student existence with its over-structured semi-monotony. I discovered work was interesting, varied and the people were alright. It had a different sort of monotony, but was less structured so I could do what I wanted when I wanted.
Then I started a part-time degree in a construction-based subject. The first year was so different to the first time round: drawing, maths, no real writing… Second year we had an essay to write, and it clicked: this is what I wanted to do! I had missed researching so much. By the end of that year I had been made redundant and was undecided about what to do: continue on or change tack entirely. I carried on, but made plans to return to my first love, foreign cultures.
And so here I am: registered, fees being paid and with all my Welcome Week timetables written up. Ready to face the new challenges of being in an unstructured environment, doing my own thing, a thing I truly enjoy. Hoping to make new friends among my fellow students and the staff who’ve arrived (and become staff) since I graduated. Back in the Department and Building I called home for four years; back home.
I’d like to add, however, something my supervisor wrote to me when I emailed her saying I’d confirmed my place:
It’ll be great having you officially back in the department (although we all know you’ve been unofficially with us all along!)
Coincidentally, this year also marks 100 years since Russian started at the University. In the building where my Quantity Surveying department is now based. Small world, eh?!