A pilgrimage to Tremough campus

I wasn’t ready for uni to end.

It went by in a happy, hedonistic flash and before I knew it I was trussed up in one of those standard ‘office girl’ shift dresses staring at a computer screen churning out generic website content about things like coronary heart disease and diabetes which – let’s face it, was never going to win me a Pulitzer prize. 

What about all the really really important stuff I learnt at uni? What about my new analytical mind? I’d studied Marxism, feminism, postmodernism, structuralism, colonialism…enough isms to give you an aneurysm. My mind had been opened. I was armed with all these sparkling new ways to decode and analyse life, and yet my life, apparently, would be spent mostly inside an office playing the part of ‘office girl in a shift dress’.

My hair is wet, not greasy. No hairdryer.

And so forgive me if, since first embarking on my adult journey six years ago, I’ve somewhat romanticised that time in Falmouth. It crops up frequently in my dreams, always leaving me with a feeling of nostalgia and loss that’s hard to shake. I’ve missed my little life there – the blue harbour, the fishing boats, the docks, the leisurely lifestyle. I miss the days where nothing mattered much. If you skipped a lecture, so what? You might get a stern email. Working for a company is terrifying. There are all these rules and consequences and it’s like being a child all over again, except this time if you break the rules you don’t just get sent to your room, you get fired and you stop getting money to live.

This weekend I’ve come back to Falmouth. It was a very spontaneous decision, which adds to the romance of the whole thing of course. It’s a pilgrimage of sorts. I’m staying at Jacob’s Ladder, where I used to iron sheets and make beds to earn a little extra money. Nothing has changed. The electric press that I used to use for hours on end is still there in the corner like a little artifact in a museum. I feel like it should have a little plaque above it.

I’m sharing a dorm with an eighteen-year-old drag queen, an extremely blokey, extremely heterosexual scaffolder, and an Italian girl who’s about to start studying here. Last night, once we’d all got into bed, the boy insisted on dressing up in his wig and heels for us. I watched as everything the scaffolder believed in dissolved before his eyes.

This morning I went for a (slightly hungover) run around Pendennis point to Gylly beach, then I got showered and dressed and walked the three miles to Tremough campus.

I snooped on my old flat. I even went inside the stairwell to remember how it smelt. It’s amazing how much of the detail I’d forgotten. The uni itself has changed a huge amount, but in a way I was glad of it. The Tremough I remember doesn’t exist anymore. It’s just a memory. Coming away from campus I realised that I need to move on. Time does go fast, it’s true. But I will never relive those years. They happened, and they’re over. I should stop romanticising the past and appreciate what I have now, because soon enough that’ll be gone too.

Right I’m going to go and take my depressing thoughts on the ferry over to Flushing. Bye.

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