plus on en fait, plus on en fait

Today, Friday, the gods were smiling upon me, as I got the afternoon off from work. I headed over to uni to try and get to grips with both the campus and the readings, both of which are equally intimidating, to be honest.

I did my undergrad studies at SOAS (wave and say Hi, SOAS readers) which, for those of you not so fortunate to have experienced the School of Oriental and African Studies, is a very… niche school of the University of London. I started my Bachelors degree 10-and-a-half years ago, and whilst it was a wee bit overwhelming to move to the big city after my tender youth spent in the French countryside, SOAS is actually quite a small, cute little institution. Cosy. Even its fantastic library is fairly easy to navigate.

The University of Melbourne is NOT small and cute and cosy. I got lost several times the first day I went there back in December. It also has this pseudo-Oxbridge vibe to it, which I sometimes quite appreciate and sometimes roll my eyes at.

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Somehow — told you I am lucky — I’ve accidentally found myself at one of the best universities in the world, and doing the only professional arts conservation course in the Southern Hemisphere (LOL COS THERE ARE SO MANY…). Consequently it’s nothing like the chilled out world I knew a decade ago. It freaks me out sometimes to be such a tiny minnow in such a huge ocean.

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I’m sure I’ll get used to it very quickly and soon I’ll know this rambling campus like the back of my hand. Eventually I found the bookshop — and its queue approximately 80 people long that covered the ENTIRE shop, prompting a swift exit. Then after wandering around for 20 minutes, I found the library… right next to the bookshop. I was expecting something a little more impressive, I have to say, given how the view from the toilets is more romantic than the entrance to what is surely the most important building in the entire institution?

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It would appear not, though, as whilst the computer areas were packed, the upper levels were not only devoid of students… there weren’t even any books.

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I’m not sure if this has anything to do with it: Given the sheer volume of reading to be done; the cost of printing; the fact that everything is provided online as a PDF; the convenience of being able to take my 500 pages of reading with me anywhere I go… I have dug out my faithful olde iPad (the original, as “borrowed” from my boss two years ago). It’s crazy but instead of carting around massive ring binders full of tatty photocopies, all I need now is the iPad and a notebook. My desk felt so empty!

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After studying for what felt like hours (but was more like… two hours), they kicked me out of the closed library and I went home to get changed and go to Bikram. I’m having to walk everywhere again, as Gary has been locked in Graham’s garage for the safety of my knees. I can’t be trusted not to ride him so poor Gaz is now a recluse once more.

Bikram sucked a bit. I didn’t enjoy it. I had a few good moments, but my knees keep getting tingly and fizzy and I was too hot (well DUH you say, but sometimes the hot is more bearable that others. This evening my towel felt like an electric blanket every time I came into contact with it). Also, even though I drank 4 bottles of nuun-water today, I think the pizza work ordered in for us (a tradition every first Friday of the month) must have been super-salty because I still was parched.

And so ends my Friday night. Work, Study, Yoga. This is going to be my life for the next couple of years.

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