November 8, 2019, by Jem

Time at University Travels Fast

I can say with the old wistful eyes of a student in his final year, that my time at university has flown by like a black bat in the night-time. Three years isn’t so long. The days are brief and spritely and race along fast. It is Winter, already. Mince pies are waking from their slumber and clambering onto shop shelves. They will soon all be eaten, and spring will come, the grass will return. The tailors will sew the black cloaks, the hatters will shape those strange caps, and graduation day will arrive.

This time last year, I was concerned at how quickly the semester was flying by. I saw the black bat racing through the trees, and I cried out after its wild form: ‘Oh little bat! Won’t you slow down your wings?’ The minx would have heard me, its ears are exceptional, yet still it hurtled on through the night, holding time tight in its claws.

I set myself to examining what it was that made studenthood fly by so fast – maybe then I could address any causes and slow down time’s wings. Was it the many deadlines? Punctuating the year, pumping the head with urgency. Was it routine? Porridge every morning, the same walk to campus, falling into rhythm. Or was it simply the giggling and chuckling? A rumour had been passed around that time flew by when fun was had.

Well, I love all these things. Porridge, laughter, my tree-lined walk, even deadlines – I would achieve little without these things. And if I did go without, time might slow down a little – but only due to dissatisfaction; boredom, gruel, displeasure etc. And if I felt these things, I would not want to lengthen time at all. What a mean trick, I thought, that time can be slowed but only by means which will make that purchased time unbearable.

This year, I see again the black bat darting about the treetops, but I do not cry out after it. Instead, I embrace all the urgency of the many seconds soaring by, and I flap my arms, fast and hard, and raise myself high until I am flying at the black bat’s side, and here in the air I catch in the sails of my coat sleeves a powerful current – the rapid winds of passing time. And with these urgent winds I soar through our campus and take in everything I see with double the eagerness: the pretty lake and its paddling geese, the green hills and their towering trees, the clock-tower and its singing bell, I watch it all, for now I see my graduation is a deadline of its own, and a hunger has taken me to see and do as much as I can, so that when the winds land me at that day, I will go with cloak and cap and take the hands of my teachers, filled.

Having said all that, I probably will do a masters.

Posted in Jem