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Friday, 19 December 2008

Being at Home

I'm puzzled by the fact that I am drinking a lot more alcohol, a lot more frequently, at home rather than at uni. There seems to be no logical reason for this; at least none that jumps out, so I'm going to have a thoughtsplurge (my neologism) all over this fresh little blog.
At university, I am free to do whatever I want whenever I want, theoretically. Before uni, one of the main reasons I would give to myself for why I don't go 'out round town' was that my parents would bemoan me coming in late. I think even then I knew there was an element of pseudo-consideration going on there, but this is beside the point.

Why am I drinking more? At first, independence appears to be the reason, though sure then I would drink more when at Uni than now - now that I am once more cozened in the parental influence. So maybe then it is some level of consciousness that permeates into my sense of independence - a 'self aware independence'. I am here aware that I am independent and am hence able to drink as an act of maturity inflation - castigating my child-self?

I'm not even remotely like an alcoholic and I'm sure my drinking habits are actually pretty close to the norm - maybe even below it - but it's all relative I suppose. This is an on-going thought - this whole idea of the paradoxical Doncaster/Cambridge self is quite perplexing. In fact, forget sleep, I will do this.

OK, when I first got to Uni, in Freshers Week etc, I was striving to not be typecast as a Northerner. I am pleased to be 'du Nord' but I don't and didn't then want it to become me. So at first I was in a weird flux where I was trying to be this 'Cambridge' type I didn't yet know nor understand.

As the term went on, I became much more self assured - I enjoyed the modest eccentricity of allowing my bizarre hair to wreak havoc and grow in what can only be called a horizontal style. I found it easy to make small talk and banter; vodka helped this, but it became less of a necessity as the weeks went by. What started to emerge was a sense of my Doncaster identity moulding itself into the Cambridge form. The occasional vulgar joke or three about murder, snobbery and rape became more possible as I became less self-regulatory. This is good; liberating and character building. This was the second stage.

The third stage is what I am experiencing presently, and it is arguably the easiest and most enjoyable. Now in a stage in which Doncastrian personality and cheekiness has branded itself alongside a Cambridge sense of eccentricity, outspokenness and the insatiable appetite for challenge, it is the end of term and time to return to Doncaster. It seems pathetically predictable that change would come; silly to think it was only 8 weeks. But here, one can bask in the provincial glory of having left the province and returned willingly. Coming home serves to rejuvenate the ego that may take a battering in such a friendly yet blatantly competitive environment at uni. Coming home, people you know can hear about all the quirky things you've done and the people you've met and how everything is so much different [read better]. Coming home is like staring into the lake of Narcissus - lovingly gazing back is the altered you, altering yet more so simply by being self-aware.

As for the next stage, I predict going back will be very interesting in a social psychology sort of way. All of the qualms and worried that accompanied the first term have been quashed. I predict a heightened sense of self-worth amongst the majority, coupled with the amalgamation of many new years resolutions founded upon status anxiety and raw ambition. I can barely wait.

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