This week, I finished uni.
My university memories are pretty much a mixture of becoming more and more addicted to coffee, walking up a lot of hills (hello, Sheffield), dicking around with my beloved housemates, getting angry about the patriarchy, being equal parts frustrated and enamoured with the whole concept of philosophy (but how do you gain concepts anyway, huh? Because if you’re learning them from primitive concepts then surely you must already have the concept. Or something. I’m sorry Steve, I’m sorry Fodor, I wasn’t really listening that week), a great deal of effort being put into finding cheap and yet drinkable cocktails and dancing to Taylor Swift. Like, these three years have involved a lot of Taylor swift. Much more Taylor Swift than could have been anticipated.
I’ve been very lucky. I’ve lived with three of the random people the university accommodation gods assigned me with in first year for the whole three years, with an extra very welcome addition in second year. They’re my best friends. I am going to miss not living with them more than I care to think about. I met two of my coursemates in the first few weeks of fist year and we have since managed to squeeze two budget holidays and two society-trips from our student loans (and jobs, and book money, and savings etc.), and I hope we continue going to sunny places where I burn my arse and they tan for the rest of our lives. I trust them sufficiently that they still have the photos of former mentioned burnt arse. My church friends and my church are like a family. We have BBQs and go on walks in the peaks and an offshoot from my cluster set up a homeless café and I am so so proud of us. I’ve really really enjoyed my course. From shipping Socrates/Plato, crying over consciousness, writing text messages in formal logic (ish) to almost successfully avoiding Kant for my whole degree, it’s been truly brilliant. Apart from that whole module on Descartes because, really, what was I thinking?
I have only had to throw out three pairs of shoes due to the mould in student housing. We’ve only been burgled once. We’ve had no infestations of any kind (wait…there was those flies in first year I guess). Our landlord only took three months and four visits to replace that lightbulb. Student life is good.
Also, I have some great stories. As a writer type person this is very important to me. The favourite is either the throwing-pants-at-locksmith, getting-stuck-in-a-lift-in-Mallorca or that-time-my-housemate-stole-my-cake, but those are stories for another day.
The reason I started this long rambley thing is I wanted to talk about writing at university.
I wrote and published my debut novel during my first year of uni, which was great. Really great. I would highly recommend doing that if possible. However, the glorious and wonderful thing about the first year of university (at least, for me), is that it didn’t count. Since then, I’ve felt like I’ve barely been writing at all. I had writer’s block, then I was busy, and then I was very busy, and then I was even busier. If I haven’t written much, I’ve read even less. Unless we’re talking about academic articles and books about Plato (I do love me some Plato), I mean. My to-read pile has done nothing but grow since Alevels finished several lifetimes ago.
Except, whilst procrastinating and hiding from those essays a few weeks ago, I did a little stock stake and I’m still completely shocked.
In my life, I have written 11 novel length stories from beginning to end. Some of those 11 are a little rusty. Some of them are posted in various corners of the internet. One of them is published. Apparently, nine of those were finished during my three years at university. Four of those were started and finished during these three years. There’s also another six multi-chapter (but not quite novel length) fics that I’ve finished, with five of those being started in that time. Well over 600 000 words written and those are just the words I liked enough not to ruthlessly delete/hide in a dark and mysterious corner of my documents folder.
And that’s alongside the 62 000 words of essays that has been my degree (+ exams), all my extra-curricular things, having a social life, going places, meeting people and, occasionally, sleeping.
I’m not saying those words have all been especially productive. Recently, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing my current favourite fictional couple into various really crap situations and see if I can them get them to work it out. I think it’s a stress thing. Plus, my world is ending (excuse the melodrama), so this is probably a subconscious thing where I’m trying to convince myself that everything will work out. Still, they probably didn’t need to deal with the cheating and the adoption difficulties or that difficult talk about depression, or the extraneous family drama.
Immediately after I submitted my final 6000 word essay, I spilt a glass of wine down my pyjama top, watched Catfish, documentary edition, then proceeded to accidentally smash said glass of wine all over a pile of my notes about the poverty of stimulus argument (symbolic stuff, that). I have since had waffles for lunch, gone pottery painting, had afternoon tea, a BBQ, two nights out, caught up with Game of Thrones, haven’t caught up with Supernatural (I’ve already had the final three episodes spoiled by the internet and I’m not sure I’m emotionally ready for that), gotten sunburnt, ordered an unreasonable amount of take-away, had cocktails, read 62% of a book (!!), got 196/200 Harry Potter characters on Sporcle and cross stitched some more of my cushion. Living the wild life and all that.
Now, I think, maybe it’s time to get writing.
(Or maybe I’ll just watch some day time TV and eat lots of food. We’ll see.)