I left for Oxford in September 1995 into a world of the unknown, along with a lot of others from around the UK and abroad.
It was a time of excitement and a place where dreams can come true. Introductions to all the new people were really good, There were nobody that I didn't dislike and I even became attracted to a few of them. This attraction wasn't mutual and unfortunately some of the friendships made at Plater faded with time and others ended when the course did.
The academic course was very intense and extremely stressful as it was a case of going from nothing to degree level in one year, I lost 2 stone in weight, thanks to the intensity of the course, admittedly I needed to lose it. There was nothing wrong with the food, the only problem was me and how I took to the course. I didn't take to the course very well as I was stressed living away from home thinking for myself, writing amazingly long essays etc. There was a counselling service that I didn't take advantage of as I saw that as a sign of weakness, I didn't want to be seen as weak and lose my chance of doing something good in my life as I was told that if you graduate with a degree then the world was my oyster and I could do anything I want with a degree. This will be addressed in a further installment titled a degree is it worth it to get into the work place?
I was thrown mentally, by the people around me falling apart emotionally. One of my closest friends who I am still in contact with today, had to spend a few weeks away in order to get professional help for her stress. Maybe it was something that could have done with, but I was so desperate and under pressure to keep hold of the course, going home was not an option
The Oxford union society was an eye opener, upon reflection I wish that it opened my eyes a little more as it could have saved me a lot of stress in later years, That aside I got to meet a lot of stars that were famous at that time and even when I questioned Sir Robin Day about him interviewing the next Prime Minister, his reply made front page of the Oxford Union weekly. That is a credit that I will definitely claim from then and now.
The Catholic ethos around Plater College was very good and mass or Holy Communion was available every day apart from Sunday when we were told to mingle with society. As a Eucharistic Minister I celebrated my first ever Communion service and celebrated that fact afterwards with my close friends.
The essays as I mentioned before that were the cause of all my stress and anxiety, didn't actually count for anything towards the final result. All they did was give practice and lead up to the biggest week of our lives. It was all on the exam season 4 fixtures over 3 days. The first day was 2 back to back 3 hour exam papers. The second of the first day of exams didn't go down very well as the paper changed whilst we were doing the course, something which I was accustomed to having been one of the first to complete the GCSE exams back in 1988.
I didn't worry too much about the bad exam as the other papers I felt stronger in two of the papers I took. It was said that it would be possible to pass the whole lot if you have a good aggregate score throughout the papers. Like the rumour there was brandy served for stressed out students in the exam having an aggregate score was a lie too. It was necessary for you to pass all papers in order to pass the course.
When the results came in, saying that I hadn't done the necessary to pass the course, I was so downhearted to the point of that I lost all faith in the existence of God something which you would think would never happen to some one like me but it did.
Throughout by biography you will find that I have had pretty much an on and off relationship with God and the Church. I think that when you read through it you will find out why it hasn't been the best of relationships and probably wouldn't blame me. I do have a faith in God and no matter how angry I get with him about things, not going how I would like them to have done I know that he is there for me writing a better plan for me than mine.
After a few days of despair believing that I was destined to life without a degree, a letter came through the post offering me a place at Northampton College of Higher Education.
Coming up in the next installment is my academic life at Northampton.