Thirty years after I graduated, I’m back at the University of Glasgow. This time enrolled on an MLitt in Creative Writing. I’m feeling hopeful and that feeling is bolstered by a surprise appearance from the sun as I walk from my flat to embark on my first day.
I start with a general induction session in the Boyd Orr Building, a monolithic sixties tower where my first year undergraduate English Literature lectures took place. In the lift, a young woman asks her friend if she has any water. The friend laughs and says, sorry, no, are you really hungover? I’ve brought a water bottle filled to the brim even though I pursued a resolutely sober, early night in preparation for today. I’m smugly envious.
In the lecture theatre there’s an enthusiastic welcome and lots of useful advice. When the very helpful administrator takes us through the various Facebook groups and Twitter feeds that we might want to follow, a woman in the front puts her hand up to say she’s old and doesn’t do social media. Having spent chunks of the summer in the Apple shop, updating my skills and knowledge on MacBook and iPhone, I’m furious at her for letting the side down and resolve not to mention my age unless absolutely necessary.
The Creative Writing students have been invited to bring their lunch for another induction in the department’s building in Lilybank Gardens. On the way, I pick up a carton of soup from The Fraser Building opposite the library. In the 1980s, it was called The Hub and I suddenly have a mental picture of exactly what the interior looked like – all bleached wood and confusing geometric layout. If I was more of a sci-fi fan, I’d use this to write a story about time travel. This session is more relevant to the course I’m taking. We do a couple of ice-breakers, get told lots more useful information on the course itself and then go on a literary walk through the campus itself and beyond to the Botanic Gardens while the sun shines on us. We finish with drinks in Oran Mor on Byres Road.
I walk home fizzing with shandy and enthusiasm.