Four things I remember most vividly from being a student the first time round, in my late teens and early twenties:
- Freedom to do what I wanted in my own space for the first time. I could read a book or take a shower at 3 am without any questions asked.
- A sinking sense of bafflement and perplexity at the subject matter. I really didn't have much of a clue about engineering.
- Meeting many people who have become long-term friends, who make me laugh and make me think, and who still seem to like me despite everything I've done.
- The 24-hour nature of the role of student. There are no boundaries to the day, no 9-to-5 routines. No time off. Any time spent having fun was time that I should have spent working, because there was always more to do.
- Living with Mr A means conforming to conventional behaviour on the whole. This is a shame, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Most of the time.
- I absolutely love my course, and unlike engineering, I really 'get' the subject. I do extra just because it's interesting.
- I don't think that I'll be in touch with anyone I've met through university in five years' time, let alone after 25 years. This is undoubtedly my problem, not theirs.
- I am able to work in the early morning and into the evenings because at my age I'd rather be sitting at my desk than sleeping late or climbing over the college gate at 2 a.m. And there's nothing on TV worth watching.