It takes over a month to get comfortable in a new environment, someone important stated to someone else. New house or job, new career, new relationship and especially newborn (which is a whole different can of worms).
Today is the midpoint of the fourth week.
I think I’ve bottomed out.
That particular sensation occurred on Monday evening, when, fairly disillusioned with the whole thing, I took to social media to confess my feelings. Specifically those of disillusionment, uncertainty, and honest surprise at how “less-than-stellar” the university communication has affected me.
The reliance on e-technology is considerable.
It’s not unexpected, nor should it be, we are in the 21st century and this is the future, whether we like it or not. But I recognise some people using ‘It’s available online’ as an excuse. Or a fob-off to someone asking a question, when they themselves don’t want the work of explaining something, or pointing the person in the right direction.
And it’s made me realise both what an excellent service health care professionals do, when people come to them asking for help, even if it’s simply a matter of directions, but also the criticism heaped in their direction over such failings as poor patient care, or slow patient care. How it really is a case of a bully picking on the child with learning difficulties. It’s an easy target. And because of the recent negative press the NHS is hardly in a position to protest. It just sighs and gets back to work.
But I digress.
Given my status as a mature student, a laughable term applied to anyone over the age of 21, but in my case it really is an accurate representation, I have found the return to the student lifestyle a considerable culture shock.
Trying to re-establish a routine that doesn’t have a wakeup call of 6am, or a physicality of manual labour, or even the familiarity and hands-on approach for the sake of an intellectual ethos has been the hardest.
To the extent that only in the last week have I begun to adhere to my self-imposed wake-up time of 7am, and actually drag myself free from the duvet’s clutches.
But for me the self-discipline aspect isn’t the biggest hurdle, it’s the harnessing of the creativity that I’m supposed to possess.
My voice is my own. It’s supposed to provide the raw material necessary for the construction of my art.
I mentioned my long-standing problems with poetry in the previous post. These have not dissipated. I still read examples from classmates that open my eyes with their complexity, not so much from the literal aspect, but more from the descriptive side of things.
My poetry sounds like what Quentin Tarantino’s attempt at a romcom might look like.
And I’m fully aware that I’ve mangled two separate mediums, poetry and film, but sue me.
And I don’t mean my poetry’s violent and absurd. It’s just very sparse, contemporary and visceral. It’s honest.
My writing is honest.
I have worked for the NHS for the past decade, I desperately want to lose that honest, pragmatic streak inside myself. But it is not easy.
And I have to remind myself that I’m more than that. That even Rocky Balboa could appreciate the finer things, and not go on and on declaring how “the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows!”
I know I’m in trouble when I start humming BJ’s ‘Allentown’ in class.
On the plus side, the people I am sharing a 10 bed apartment with are undeniably awesome. 4 non-English speaking foreign students who are polite and courteous, together with the 5 of us: 2 English, 1 Welsh and 2 American.
With one Americanized English girl (me), and one Anglicized American girl, a Welsh guy whose pushing 30 and the remaining American guy and English girl as green as grass when it comes to the other one’s culture, it’s a perfect dynamic.
The best part is we all click, and on a personal level they understand me when I come in after a seminar dropping f-bombs like a Middle East war drone.
On the bad days I sound like Joe Pesci, only a few octaves higher.
My frustration is well founded. But I know it masks confusion and uncertainty too.
I know it isn’t only me feeling this. Arriving at a new place, even one you’re familiar with on a physical level, is still more of a challenge than I recognised.
The golden (and often misquoted, misunderstood and overused) line is “Write what you know”.
I was sceptical back in my early twenties, these are the same problems. Ones I faced then, and ones I’m facing now.
I want to know more beauty and belief than I currently do. I have no idea how I learn that.
I have to start to write what I like, what makes me feel good about literally being on this floating blue and green ball.
Do I think I’ve made the wrong decision?
*ponders answer carefully*
No. This is something I had to do. This is something I had to do, as my previous blog entries attest, a career break from the grind. And from a physical standpoint my body is responding. The pain is easing, my physical existence, not so much of a struggle.
I know it’s early days, but I am inpatient.
This year will go fast. Don’t sleep, don’t miss a single second of it, because it’ll end sooner than I’ll want it to.
I want it to be worth it.
I want to succeed.
I want to say at the end, honestly, that I did the best I could, with what I had to work with.