Pastures new

Hi,

It’s been a somewhat funny week this time around. Some good news in that we managed to get the downstairs bathroom shower replaced – I know, first world problems eh? But it will give the kids (both teens) more privacy. True perhaps for the Ever Lovely Mrs J as well who uses the ensuite one upstairs.

Like most early teens, our youngest has been back at school for the new term, although due to an Inset day for the staff, had today off. Wee Man on the other hand, will be making his way to university this coming Monday. Quite a change for him, I think, and I hope he finds what he needs.

It was an age since I went. Indeed we still had polytechnics back then. 🙂 While Wee Man will be staying home and traveling in – I know, right. Commuting to a place. How 2018! 😉 – for many new students, they will be staying away.

Going to uni, in my view at least, isn’t just about education. We’ll skip over the commentary about drinking and debt, but it’s also chance to grow as a person. At home and in school, I think people are often defined by – or even constrained by – their past. A college, there’s a chance to start again: to learn from your mistakes and try new things.

As a young man back then, I was so glad to be away from my home town and leave behind how people saw me. A room on my own also meant I had space to discover who I was and try things out. I met some cool people too and I’m still in touch with some of them.

Sure, I had some set backs – like the impact of being outed back home and later, not passing my course – but from a growing up point of view, leaving home let me grow.

I might not have left with a qualification, but I did find who I was, met the Ever Lovely Mrs J, and learned how to live on my own. I don’t say the latter as a brag, but to say that anyone younger reader this can absolutely do the same. Plus, passing isn’t everything. Hmm, where have we read that phrase before? 😉 Sometimes it’s not always about academic matters. So if you’re moving on this summer, good luck, wherever you go and whatever you’re up to.

L x

10 Comments

  1. Good luck to Wee Man – hope he thrives. I loved university – you literally can be yourself much more, do what interests you and mix with people like yourself. He’ll probably make lifelong friends and maybe even meet the Ever Lovely Wee Woman.
    My main regret about my uni life was that I didn’t take the opportunity to come out as trans, but fear of being outed to my bigoted family was the killer of that. Sue x

    1. Thanks Sue and good to hear you enjoyed your time as a student. I’m not sure when you went, but if it was the 90s/2000s, that was a very different time to now around being trans and open about it.

      I work friend said that his daughter was very bookish, quiet, and loved Harry Potter. While at school, she did okay, but didn’t have many friends who liked the things she did. On visiting a college, that saw some students playing Quiddich – or at least the ground based version for us real world types 🙂 “Dad, I think I’ve found my tribe,” she said. Ah, to belong eh? ❤️

      1. A lady never reveals her age but I had completed my studies before the era you mention. Section 28 had had no bearing on schools that fed students into the university system in the 1990s/2000s so there was an openness about gay and trans matters. There wasn’t an obvious trans society or group at uni but there was a healthy Gay Soc. I was certainly aware of other gender flexible students there. It was fear of my family that prevented my living my trans reality when I was a student, rather than societal or peer problems.

        I’m sure Wee Man will find his tribe too. And, who knows, one day you may be proud to see him attend that university ball in a lovely silk off-the-shoulder number 😉 Sue x

        1. Sorry to hear your family were not supportive. I know you’ve written about that before and, well, I guess we just have to make the best of the cards we’re dealt. As true for health and mind, as perhaps the family we’re born into.

          I think there was a LGBT group at poly. I don’t think we’re discovered the Q or the + back then. 🙂 While I remember seeing the details in the student handouts, I wasn’t comfortable enough – or brave enough? – to go. I knew a lad who was openly bi and I don’t think he got any trouble, thankfully.

          As to Wee Man, he’s really into his metal, so it would need to be a level of black silk that absorbs all light 😁 He’s a really kind soul, although I may be biased, and I think he’s firmly in the cis-het zone.

  2. Echoing Sue’s comments about good luck to Wee Man. I remember uni days very fondly (school far less so). I don’t think I was especially troubled by trans issues at uni – I was too busy falling into a series of unrequited love affairs and settling for platonic friendships instead. Like you, Lynn, I am still in touch with a couple of them.
    But I do remember being secretly pleased about being told that someone mistook me for a girl while sunbathing on the lawn (I had very long hair at the time).
    School taught me to remember answers from books. University taught me where and how to find them out myself. A much more useful skill for these times. (Hopefully now they also teach you how to check verify them.)

    1. Thank you, Susie. As you say, school is so very different from university and the ability to learn on how research something is incredibly useful. I’m hoping kids will pick up on critical thinking skills and fact checking. The latter must surely be so vital in today’s world.

      PS: on a scale of one to “oh my!”, how chuffed were you at the sunbathing 🙂incident?

      1. Secretly rather thrilled. I doubt they would have made that mistake if they had seen me from the front. But I did have very long hair at the time.

  3. Best of luck to your Wee Man, may he embrace the opportunities that University provides – the chance for re-invention, for example, and that re-invention to better show one’s self. May he embrace the chance to immerse himself in study with the social aspects that come with it and learn as much as he can about as much as he can with as many new friends as he can.

    As trying as your experience sounds it also sounds like you had one of the better experiences of University – you found what you went for, or, rather you found much to be proud of finding or they found you. My own experience, toward the end of the 90s and into the 00s, was that I simply didn’t take the opportunity to re-invent myself as much as I could and should have done. Still too bound up in fear and worry, I repeated my disguise from Sixth Form. I embraced neither the social nor academic opportunities and thus gained a 2:1 and a new social circle but learned little of value. Even an MA later and I learned little of import, that would come much later, beyond the University College for a second post-graduate degree and into my first year on the job.

    May your Wee Man find things he doesn’t know he’s looking for and bring answers to questions neither you nor he thought to ask – that’s what University is absolutely for!

    1. Thank you for those beautiful words, Joanna.

      “…opportunity to re-invent myself as much as I could and should have done…”

      You did the best you could in the time and circumstances you found yourself. I do not think anyone can ask any more of themselves. I feel we can always look back and with 20/20 hindsight, see the opportunities through a lens of courage and experience we didn’t have then.

      I feel some things take time to come to the fore and that’s okay. All we can do is try. ❤️

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