Wednesday 29 March 2023

At 7am this morning, I wave Small boy off on a two-day course at Cambridge University. He is actually staying overnight in the college I went to, (back in the ancient history of the 1980s) so permission to feel a little bit emotional …

Or is it more that I feel quite a lot of envy. University memories – gosh such happy times! It was part of a time in my life when every year just seemed to get better and better. The work was tough; intense, challenging and delivered at pace that was not for the fainthearted. In tandem though, the living, the lovely friends, the support and the vibrancy was also incredible. Would I love to go back and do it all again? In a breath! But the years have rolled on, and it it no longer my time to dream of higher education, freedom and the first thrill of true independence. No, now it is the turn of my youngest child.

Take pictures!” I call out, as he hops into the car that is taking him ‘down south‘.

And he does; photos of colleges, chapels and a video of his room, which really makes me smile because I know he is sending the pictures, not because he is in awe of the ancient splendour (my son is an irreverent left-wing rebel ) but rather that he knows it will make me happy. And right there, in that very moment, any envy disappears and I just feel emotional again, Though this time, not with nostalgia for my undergraduate past nor for the re-tread of family footsteps, but because it simply warms my heart to be reminded just how kind my lovely boy is.

He also send a triumphant 12:30 am text announcing that his team have ‘won‘ the quiz that the organisers have put on as an evening social event.

By contrast, my evening is some rushed and uninspiring food after a full and frantic day topped off by a parental consultation event that stretches the working hours to 8pm.

By the end of the next working day, he is home and I can see the change. Is my son, as I once was, now picturing himself amidst the dreaming spires, following in the footsteps of Newton and Turing ? In all honesty, I don’t think he is. The trip has, nonetheless, fired up his enthusiasm for Higher Education. His passion for Chemistry lives on, (“but definitely not Chemical Engineering mum!”) and his previous lethargy has been replaced by a decently researched list of the best establishments for his courses of choice. He is planning Open Days and trips to City Universities across the land.

He does also find time to tell me that everyone thought that my old College was the best one by far …

One thought on “Cambridge

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