Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My first class at Birkbeck

It was bizarre to be sitting inside a class again after five years. But definitely not unpleasant. For the first time in my life, I was a student in a place I wanted to be, about to study a subject I am crazy about. I'm taking the 6-month creative writing module at University of Birkbeck, London.

I knew that wednesdays were going to be hell... I need to drop the kids at the school at 9am, and then run to the rail station to catch a train to Waterloo, and then change to tube, then walk 10 min to the class... and did I mention the class started at 10:30am? So it was like a mad race against time, but here's what's so perfect - the transport system in London is so punctual, the trains arrive on the dot and I always manage to get to class with a few minutes to spare!

It was a surreal walk from the tube station to the university buildings in Russell Square. The place reminded me of Union Square in NYC... the same architecture, shop facades, shops. But the people were better dressed and more relaxed, hehe. It was fun to gawk at the buildings! I know - I studied architecture at college and I should not be so blown away by first world architecture, but I am always awed when I see a fantastic facade or a magnificent building. It's so difficult to be blase about it!

So when I reached the university buildings, I felt so much at peace, looking at the students and the lecturers walking by, talking animatedly. Looked like I am finally going to get the college experience that would be a good memory. I reached my class in time and took a seat right next to the instructor. Well, one more first! I was always the backbencher at school and college ;)

The first class was more like an ic-breaker session. We all, about 14 of us, introduced ourselves and then Sara Boyes, the course instructor, introduced the sessions and the syllabus. I already knew more about it because I have been reading the course link every day for the past 3 months. I liked the way we did exercises and then discussed about them... I am so used to email critiques that I had missed talking - as in verbal communication - with fellow writers. I sure feels good to look at a person and smile and talk about what they wrote!

As the hour progressed, I began to realise - contrary to whatever people might say or I might think during weak moments, investing the time and money to get away and do a course like this is perhaps the best decision I had ever taken in my life.

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