To learn anew

Looking back now, I realise that university was quite a traumatic experience for me.

In my first year, I kept the company of a troubled alcoholic, a decade older than me. I was thrust into the role of counsellor to him on his nights of violence, when that final glass of whatever it was caused him to tip over the edge.

In my second year, I became the recluse, searching. I chose my company better, cutting myself off from all I knew in the first year. I attended church for a while, briefly joined a Christian cult and ultimately embraced Islam.

My third year: that was the realm of tests nearly as catastrophic as my first year. The opposition of my family at home. The sectarian wars I just could not comprehend. The loneliness. The bullying. The great tests within.

The following year, I took myself four-hundred miles north to study Publishing in Scotland. There I was the reserved student, more calm, less engaged in the student life around me. Perhaps that was my belated calming-down phase.

University was wasted on me then. But then that is often said: education is wasted on the young. In truth, I have spent most of my adult life trying to overcome the traumas of those first twenty years in education. I think most people have.

Perhaps the time has come to start again, with a clean slate. To learn anew.

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