I began the new course late and the first subject was Bede, a monk and scholar at a Northumbrian monastery who wrote The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. THE least exciting book title I had ever heard. I’d missed all the lectures up until then but, for the first essay, I took a few books out of the library and began a tedious read. It was no use as the monastic prose was so boring. I couldn’t concentrate for even half an hour at a time. My small student room was about three metres square with a desk near the door and single bed by the window overlooking a small car park.
I shouldn’t have been there. Not then, not ever. I wasn’t meant to be in that place. But I didn’t know what to do in life. I had no money and couldn’t see any future. I was alone and in pieces. Standing there, a very long moment passed as I stared out of the window. I was not okay and didn’t know what to do.
The next morning I showered in the pube-infested cubicle, careful not to touch the walls. My life was shit. Those were the most insular days of my life. I tried to get into those mind-numbingly dull books. I really did try. Skim-reading what I could, I produced an uninspired essay and spent the rest of the week wondering where I would end up with a degree that lifeless. The conclusion I came to was absolutely nowhere. I didn’t want to be there, I hadn’t met anyone I would consider a real friend and I didn’t like the studies being peddled. To be honest, I wasn’t into reading books, not academic ones anyway. It felt like I was on thin ice.