I went to University for something they called a day-long "Survivor's Guide" for mature students yesterday. Which is a cute way of saying "old farts induction day" basically, although the letter they sent out prior to the event strenuously denied it was an induction day. We were on the Park Campus, which is just a short walk up the road from the care home I used to work in and the pub we used to frequent with the service users. I hadn't seen the care home since I left the company under a cloud of hot contumely. It was nice. That home I had a few nice months in, before they got rid of the one good manager they had, ripped apart the staff team and sent me to the other care home to work with my old nemesis Cruela.
But as the song says, "that's all in the past", and walking past the building on my way to the University symbolised it perfectly. The "Survivor's Guide" itself was good, although what I really want is to pitch right into the course and get started on my studies. Actually, it was a bit like a training course at the old job, except with better trainers and better facilities in an absolutely beautiful location. There were many hiccups: lots of unexpectedly locked doors, student facilitators not sure of the jobs entrusted to them, timetables for activities much too stringent to be met, but I found all that rather charming. This was the first day of the new year for everybody, after all. It was like the University hadn't completely shaken the summer out of its hair.
One wonderful moment: we had to do one of those excruciating little "ice-breaker" exercises that trainers love so much, and the task was to tell two truths and one lie; the rest of the group would then guess which statement was the lie. I said, "I'm a poet. I used to be a care worker. My girlfriend's name is Emma" One girl leaned forward quickly, sure that she had the right answer, and said, "It's either that you're a poet or that you used to be a care worker. Nobody could be both at the same time. Care work is so...unimaginative."
How is it that she knew that in two and a half seconds and it took me thirteen years to realise?