At the age of eighteen i made a number of choices which i regret to this day. Firstly, i took a year out from education. Secondly, i chose to do a Film & Media degree. And finally, i elected to study in Scotland.
My reasons for making these choices made perfect sense to me as a youth. I fully intended to work during my gap year, saving a huge stockpile of cash with which to pay my way through university. I chose to study media as it was a relatively new degree and sounded exciting, interesting and relevant - with any number of career paths open to me upon graduation. And i chose my Scottish university as it was as far as i could get from my northern hometown (which i've often referred to as 'England's Armpit') without going down south - an alien environment to a meat n' spuds Yorkshireman like me.
Despite my best intentions, none of my choices proved to be in any way advantageous. I earned tuppence ha'penny in a wasted twelve months, subsequently realised that media degrees were the very definition of 'Mickey Mouse' and discovered the Scottish penchant for alcoholism and Irn Bru breakfasts suited my personality far too readily.
And so i left with a shitty degree in a pointless subject, too skint to participate in the unpaid work-placements necessary to make a name in the media and having singularly failed to establish any kind of serious work ethic during four years of study. The reasons for this were myriad and include: being astonishingly immature; Tesco selling vodka for £6.32 a bottle; Scots starting uni at 17 and the first year of study being accordingly easy - and my falling out of studious habits as a result.
And so now, ten years on, i'm returning to university - this time on home soil. And i am excreting in my undercrackers for the following reasons:
I used to hate 'mature' students. They did all the work. Turned up to every lecture, screening and seminar, knew the answers and were articulate and committed in a way which disgusted me. Now, i have become all i despised. I am 32 years old, and although not everyone on my PGCE course will be a fresh-faced whippersnapper, i'm sure i'll be one of the oldest. Will i relate to my fellow students? Will they resent me? Think i'm a geek? I hope not, but i'm not the most outgoing individual and worry greatly about making friends and being part of 'the group'.
After ten years away from university learning, i'm extremely concerned about things like lectures, seminars, note-taking, essays, referencing and all the other routines, skills and habits i've fallen out of or forgotten. I'm so used to writing informally, anecdotally or personally that producing academic writing fills me with fear. Just finding my way around campus is a big enough worry - never mind the things i need to do when i'm there!
Am i right to be concerned? Can anyone allay my fears or offer me advice ahead of registration day in September? Or am i just being a paranoid old man?