I’m trying to remember what it was like five years ago, when I was seventeen and had just been accepted into Queen’s University Belfast. All I can really remember by now was the explosive joy and excitement, but that can’t be it. This is me. There has to have been some suffocating terror and anxiety in there somewhere.
I’m thinking about this because at the end of August or the start of September, I’ll be making a similar move. I’m moving from Belfast (where I have lived for five years, the first four of which I spent studying at QUB) to Glasgow, where I’ll be starting a new course in the University of Glasgow. And there is joy, certainly: I decided to apply for this course because I wanted to do it, I have been accepted onto it and that is good; I knew I wanted to move on to a new city this year and that’s what I’m doing; I’m finally going back to my original love of old words and medieval thingies.
But at the same time, I’m sort of feeling a whole lot of nothing. And I’m worried because I don’t know if that’s because I’m making the wrong choice, or because my depression makes it difficult to feel things quite often.
I spend quite a lot of time right now making myself think about the scary and exciting parts of this move, to try and get a rise out of myself. This time I’m going to do it in a list on my computer screen to try and make it even more real. Maybe five or six people will read this post, and them knowing about it will make it realer still. Real things are more likely to evoke some sort of reaction than imaginary things.
- i’ve never been to glasgow
- medieval & early modern literatures and cultures were my favourite parts of my undergrad degree so i will probably enjoy them this time too
- i’m going to move in with conor
- we’re going to get a third guinea pig and a bigger cage
- we’re going to explore a whole new arts scene that’ll be different to belfast’s
- there’s a zine library there
- i’ll be harder to find
- i’m going to learn and see so many cool things
- i’ve never been to glasgow
- i have to find a house in a city i’ve never been in
- i worry conor will get tired of me if we live together
- houses are probably more expensive there than in belfast
- i don’t know anyone in glasgow, i’ll have to make new friends
- i might not be good at the course
- i might not like the subject anymore
- i probably can’t afford this
- moving will be a pain because conor and i can’t drive
- i don’t know any of the academics in glasgow
Today Conor and I were in Hodges Figgis, a really big cool book shop in Dublin. I was having a great time looking at all the books and trying to choose one to buy. And then we got to the top floor, which is where all the history books are kept. And I found the medieval history books and the anglo saxon books and the books about the normans and the 100 years war, and I didn’t feel awfully interested in any of them.
That worried me, and instantly my head was full of all these oh-gosh thoughts about how I’m doing the wrong thing and how I’m not really interested in the field and just think I am and I’m wasting even more of my money. And I tried to force myself to want one, but all the price labels were in euro and I couldn’t get my head to be quiet long enough to work out how much €16.50 was in sterling or whether or not that was a reasonable price.
I told Conor why I was sad afterwards and he asked me if I wanted him to explain why that was silly. I didn’t need an explanation, I know that my brain is dumb. I will take any opportunity to doubt myself.
At the end of the day, I know this masters is going to be the best thing for me right now. It’ll give me a sense of purpose while I figure things out, and I know that if I do a PhD in a couple of years it’s not going to be in writing poetry.
I wasn’t much more familiar with Belfast when I moved here than I am with Glasgow now, so while it’ll be a big change it’s not quite as terrifying as I try to convince myself it is. And I really am very, very excited to move in with Conor. Probably the main reason I am not feeling any big emotions about the move is that it still feels like a long way off, and I have so many other things to focus on between now and then.
I’m definitely excited to move into a new house and get to know a new area. I love that stuff. And I’m definitely looking forward to living in a house that feels like ~our house~ and not just a student dig full of other people and their stuff and their friends.
And oh my, I am looking forward to getting a third guinea pig to introduce to the boys. More than any other aspect of the move, I spend time thinking of potential names for the new piggie and imagining what hair type and colour they’ll be. That’s something it’s easy to be excited about.