Masters and…stuff.

I started my Masters degree this week! Well, last week technically. Well, actually we don’t *technically* start til next week. Last week was full of inductions and stuff. This week was split in two, as was this year’s cohort, so we could each do a 2 and a half day first aid course to prepare us for…well, life, I suppose. It gets a bit complicated trying to explain it to people. ‘So how are you finding your course so far then?’ ‘Well, we haven’t actually started yet…well we have…oh never mind.’

It’s…strange. It’s very odd to be in the same place (I did my undergraduate degree here, ergo I have been here for three years already) but with completely different people. By far the majority of people from the undergraduate degree have moved on to pastures new. There can’t be more than ten of us coming a back for the Masters. And it’s odd. I’m used to being able to call up friends, arrange to meet, go to events, and see certain people, pretty much whenever I like, because they live in the same town as me. Now they have scattered to all corners of the globe and whilst I have come back to familiar surroundings, it feels very off-kilter. No more running into familiar faces around campus.

I do have an advantage though. If I am finding it bizarre, me, who knows my way around and knows all the staff and where the lecture theatres are and where to go for the best chips in town and if you go down that path you’ll get there in half the time, then the people who are coming here for the first time must be feeling ten times worse. Three years down the road from being a fresher, the new kid in town, the youngest in the place, and I honestly can’t imagine how I did it. It’s terrifying. A new place, new people, a completely clean slate. I don’t think I’d be able to cope as well now, but then I suppose that’s the benefit of youth. And when you’re a fresher, so is everyone else. Everyone is new, no-one knows anyone and everyone is in the same boat.

So I’ve just finished two and a half days of first aid training, after being bored for the three days prior to that, having no work and nothing really to do. My knees are wrecked from two and a half days kneeling next to ‘casualties’ checking for vital signs and bleeding out and why the heck is this person unconscious and unresponsive?! and using CPR dummies and putting people in the recovery position over and over and over. Interesting way to break the ice, that. ‘Hey, nice to meet you. Now I’m going to poke you everywhere.’ And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. The protocol calls for, if no circulation issues are found, a head-to-toe body search to try and discover the cause of unconsciousness. Which requires running your hands over the skull, looking behind the ears, looking in the eyes feeling the brow, nose, jaw, collarbones, sternum and ribs, and prodding the stomach in four places, then feeling the kidneys. Next up the legs and arms – you have to feel everywhere, basically, except for the groin. I imagine this is not a problem in an actual, real-life emergency. But when it’s someone who is still conscious, and merely pretending otherwise, and someone you have only just met and will be coursemates with for the next year – bit awkward.

I have a kitchen of my own, which is nice. I have one room and one en-suite. So I don’t even have to go through a door to get to the kitchen. It’s right there! It’s lovely, even if the fridge is a bit noisy, and I have a balcony and a double bed and it’s all rather fab. And despite living 5 miles further out from campus than for the last two years, I only have to leave my flat 15 minutes earlier than I did last year. Which is cracking, if you’re like me and hate early mornings.

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