Tuesday, October 5, 1982
I met my course tutors. Five of us are signed up for Dr. Palfreyman's Critical Reading: American Civilisation tutorial, and he told us that we could decide what we wanted to focus on as AmCiv is really just a general introduction. He asked for topic ideas; someone mentioned the hippies, and I mentioned jazz and said it was the only native American art-form, at which he raised his eyebrows and smiled.
We were sent away with instructions to find out about a particular aspect of American Indians which interests us, take notes, and then discuss this next Tuesday. After this, Mr McAllister talked with me in his dark office about the role of the Personal Tutor and then I was free to wander aimlessly yet with simulated purpose up and down the neatly trimmed paths. I browsed for a while in a mini-market being held down in the main part of campus.
At two I had to meet Dr. Herring, a young American who painted a daunting picture of what he expects from us in Philosophical Thinking (Knowledge & Reality). The girl from Yorkshire was there (she’s from Knowlesbeck!), and her accent was comfortingly familiar amid all these Southern twangs. We have to read Bertrand Russell for next week and I left Herring's office feeling just a little overwhelmed, even frightened.
I got the train into Watermouth to collect my parcel from the railway station and took a taxi back to campus for £2.70. As I unwrapped all the things I'd last seen at home (‘FRAGILE’ daubed in over-large letters and joked about with Mum & Dad), I felt homesick yet again.
At 7.30, I self consciously made myself a cup o’ tea in the communal kitchen and struck up stilted and wooden conversation with the handful of other people there; three of them seemed to be big friends already and they relaxed easily around the table while I sat stiffly in the corner, trying to look casual but feeling conspicuous in my silence. When they’d left for a game of pool, I talked awkwardly with a quiet ginger-haired lad from Basildon. I cringed inwardly at how blatantly forced my words sounded.
The three from the kitchen have gone to a reggae disco in the Cellar. Maybe I'll go down there to try and get to know somebody.