A weird sensation came over me today. As I finished work early and it’s a gloriously sunny day I decided to talk a walk round my old University campus, which I have been living a stone’s throw away from since February.
I walked passed the old hall that I had my final exam in, overwhelmed with exhaustion and anticipation; the hall I also performed three productions in with the university musical theatre society I joined. I felt nothing.
I passed the student’s Union, home of two nightclubs, two bars, the student media hub and various other campus facilities. A large part of my first couple of years were spent in this building. Again, I felt nothing. Underneath the Union is the campus shop, I browsed the same shelves I would buy my various meals from, ensuring I visited my beloved stationery aisle where I’d purchase all my vastly over-priced notebooks. I still felt nothing.
I wandered along the same route I would take to go to class, past the library where I lived during my final year, and towards the towering School of Humanities. Every thing I learned in the best part of those four years, all the wisdom that comes from being a student and all the knowledge I needed for my degree, happened in that building. Still felt nothing.
I ventured down the path beside the sports centre, which had nurtured my love of dance and netball, whilst also showing it’s darker side by hosting a few of my exams. I didn’t feel a thing.
Then I walked past the flat I spent my final year of University in, with a group of people that started out as my best friends and had drifted away from me within the space of twelve months. A flat in which I experienced so many emotions during one of the most difficult, demanding and rewarding years of my life. Yet, almost two years on, I felt nothing but a bit thirsty!
On my way home I walked back along the edge of the place in which I had paved my future, through the gardens where I last saw all my friends during our graduation party – the campus so full of life and colour and noise. Today all that was left was a bit of grass and a lonely student reading a book in the sun. I still felt numb.
My lack of emotion and feeling towards what had been my home for three and a half years (I studied abroad for a semester) came as a bit of a surprise. As I was approaching campus I expected some of the feelings I had to come flooding back – the anxiety I often felt on my way to class (I hated the small tutorials in case I was asked to speak out in front of people), the excitement I would get on my way to the Union, the warmth I would feel passing the music building that housed my beloved musical theatre society, the gratitude that would overcome me passing the School of Humanities, and the excitement of knowing I have my whole life ahead of me as I went.
It’s like I am grieving and going through the motions after losing someone I held very close to my heart. Perhaps I will feel something towards it again one day, or perhaps it’s a reminder that life goes on and we grow faster than we know.