February 13, 2014, by Alice

Year 1. Term 1. Armageddon.

The first term is a bit like a Salvador Dali painting. Confusing.

It’s a cliché, but I cannot believe how long ago that first September week in the Music Department feels.

The first few weeks have a feeling of forced friendliness. Everyone needs friends, but oh don’t they know it! Seas of faces smear smiles over their nerves, perfectly reflecting your own face.

The sun shines and you take all the iconic Nottingham University prospectus-style photos.

You begin to grasp the different personalities of your year. The loud ones. The quiet ones. The hyper-organised-colour-coded-pen ones (this group slowly diminishes as the term goes by).

Then the lectures arrive, and you try to work out how much work you should be putting in. How much is everyone else doing? Why do we have to do so much reading?

Just as you reach the point of wondering how those in the year above could ever be so relaxed, rehearsals begin. Routine at last. Before you know it your time is so full of essays, and concerts, and pubs and music that you don’t have time to worry about work and friends. Those things only ever sort themselves out when you don’t worry too much.

Essays and exams arrive with the ever-expected flurry of revision-related Facebook posts. You make notes and lists, and mind-maps, and posters. You thank god you’re studying Music and not Medicine.

As the term goes by the second and third years seem to get at least ten years younger. At first they seemed so old. But before you know it they’ve become your most wonderful friends.

Gossip and controversy comes and goes. (‘So-and-so did what?!’)

You have mornings of crazed-enthusiasm. Evenings of cider, and music, and friends.

In a moment of pre-Christmas, post-exam reflection you remember those shaky early days, and try to recollect how you reached the point you’re at now. You head ‘home’ for Christmas and pine for Nottingham.

How is it possible that this place feels so familiar, so homely already?!

As I said, the first term is like a Salvador Dali Painting. Confusing. But soon enough it becomes oddly familiar and you grow quite fond of it.

Soon enough it begins to make sense.

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