…I’m very, very tired. The reason for this is purely physical – I hardly got any Z’s last night, as I was on public transit between 11.30pm and 3.30pm and then waiting at the Poznan airport, drinking coffee at 4am (as soon as the airport cafe opened), and then flying, and I happened to have sat by the window in the front of the plane, so what I could see was the airplane wing and that massive tub-shaped engine thing, and the clouds below, and it was absolutely terrifying. I am terrified of flying – yes, me, who had spent the better part of the last nine years flying back and forth between two countries (Poland and the United Kingdom) – so being reminded of just how high above the ground I am, suspended in a metal box, every time I opened my eyes, was rather a terrifying prospect, so I tried to keep my eyes closed at all times and listened to the extended soundtrack from OBX (the Netflix masterpiece show).
At last, after landing, disembarking from the plane into the rainy atmosphere of Edinburgh, passing through passport control (‘Are you travelling alone?’ ‘With my mum, but she’s a bit behind,’ ‘Do you live here?’ ‘No,’ ‘So just for the weekend then?’ ‘Yes, it’s my graduation,’ ‘Congratulations,’ ‘Thank you,’ ‘Thank you.’) and a bus ride on the 100 Airlink bus, my mum and I arrived in the centre of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, that is. Shandwick Place, Princes Street, they’re all familiar views, and none of the places we went today were new to me – I had been to literally all of these places before. And it felt utterly bizarre, considering the fact that I don’t live in Edinburgh anymore, I’m not a student at Edinburgh University anymore, and in fact, I first started studying at Edinburgh University almost seven years ago. Now, that’s a shocking number. (It also made me feel a bit emotionally numb, since I’ve no idea how to cope with such information!)
My attendance of the University of Edinburgh is a direct consequence of me receiving a scholarship to study abroad for the last two years of high school. At the time the fulfillment of my wildest dreams! Now? I simply cannot comment, because that was nine years ago. But I do believe I was extremely lucky and the experience gave me loads of, well, experiences and stuff, so it was a very good thing to have happened. Of course with hindsight you can say whatever you want about past events, you can even say something poetic like ‘the best thing that ever happened to me was the worst thing that ever happened to me’ or vice versa. I’m in no position to say any of such things because I’ve no divination skill and I believe most of the time, what happens is what was meant to happen, and there’s no other chain of events that could have taken place instead. (Not, really, due to fate, but rather due to the impossibility of changing the past, so what has already happened is the only thing that could have happened because any stretch of time can only happen once). (Of course, if we dig into parallel universes et cetera, maybe this statement is wrong. But I’m only a meagre geographer and a historian of design and material culture, so my education when it comes to bending the timespace is severely inadequate to discuss such matters).
Now I’m at the Library Cafe, putting what I’m thinking and feeling into words to try and get my head around the whole situation. After wandering around the campus, where hardly anything’s changed, I’ve resigned myself to the hope that tomorrow, at and after my graduation ceremony – for my undergraduate degree, which I had received nearly two years ago, five years after first starting out – I will feel different. Maybe with a more organised mind, finally feeling accomplished, complete, like I can permanently acknowledge the fact that I went to the University of Edinburgh and got a First Class degree here. I’ll leave the fact that I studied geography at university for consideration at a different occasion; the middle school me thought I would’ve studied modern languages or something like that. Anyway. The laptop’s running out of battery, and I’m getting hungry, so it’ll be time to feed this sleepy stomach of mine soon and maybe leave the campus and head towards our hostel.
Hope y’all are having a great old time and your minds are organised and not confused xxxxx
One thought on “The day before graduation”
Congratulations! How did it go?
I started studying in 2000, so 23 years ago this fall. It’s been 18 years since I got my BFA. It feels like a few weeks ago in some ways and like ages ago in others. Life moves fast.
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