one of my favourite quotes from Alice in Wonderland, and I have to hope it’s true, because so far, everyone here seems bafflingly, terrifyingly normal. I’ve just started University and was told the usual “you’ll meet so many like-minded people!” spiel -the only problem being that if they’re anything like me they’ll be hiding in their rooms, wrapped firmly in a blanket and refusing to come out. Probably on strike until they receive their long-anticipated Hogwarts acceptance letter (yes I’m still waiting). Coming from a place where the trees far outnumber the buildings, an actual city is terrifying. There are just so many PEOPLE. Such a place is made far more terrifying when you’ve only been there for 5 days and your halls manager decides to unceremoniously boot all 80 of you out in the dead of night, causing a mass panic and near stampede until new lodgings are made available. Me and my bonsai are now in our second halls of residence, and for a nervous person, the prospect of having to meet a whole new load of flatmates is not encouraging. We all know how it works in situations like these- your friends in the first few days are those people you immediately herd together with out of sheer panic and a lot of nervous laughter, and continue to scuttle from room to room with until you are separated. I had found my preliminary herd, but we are now scattered all over campus and it is much harder to herd together when you have no idea where they are. I have always been baffled by the way the some people make friends; the hair-flipping, orange-faced members of the “popular group”. It seems to be completely incomprehensible, but by some deep primal instinct, they sense each other in group gatherings, single each other out, and proceed to immediately become inseparable until the last day of uni/school/playgroup when they immediately forget each other and continue on with their lives. It’s like in a nature show- the popular people are the big cats who bond after taking out some small unsuspecting “unpopular” creature- which must make me the lonely warthog on the other side of the watering hole. Fantastic. There don’t seem to be too many big cats in my chosen subject of English Literature, which I thought would make it less nerve-racking, until the first meeting. As if by magic, everybody produced matching notebooks, somehow had a page of notes on the lecturer’s greeting alone, and proceeded to ask insightful questions as if they’d swallowed “A Critical Appraisal”. Meanwhile I had already got lost twice, forgot everybody’s names as soon as they said them, and failed to locate any herd members. On top of this, my shoes which had previously been so helpfully silent suddenly developed the “teacher walk”- the horrifying clack-clack which, when late, in the middle of a lecture hall, is reminiscent of the walk to the gallows. Aarrghhh. I have always been a strong believer that despite the heavy social emphasis on being ‘normal’; if you try and bottle your weirdness up, it will explode out of you at unexpected moments. On this note, I now need to emerge from my room and locate a secondary herd who will hopefully accept this and expose their own weirdness. Also, the food supply of orange juice and noodles is also running low. Oh well, at least the bonsai is happy.

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