Thoughts On – Starting College

I remember this time of year back in 1985 when I was thinking of moving from my family home and little village to start my Higher National Diploma (HND) studies at Cumbria Institute of the Arts, in the city of Carlisle.

Cumbria Institute of the Arts logo

I had massive amounts of nervous energy, as I am not the most confident or outgoing person, and was worried about my studies and my digs (mostly worried about anything there was to worry about). Luckily, after my friend, Sandi, and I had struggled to find ‘digs’, we moved into Wigton Road and found ourselves in good company with two great lads from Yorkshire, Paul and Richard. Looking back at our student life gives me a laugh or two now. It was like living an episode of the ‘The Young Ones’ in reality, with exploding ovens, bonfires burning in the back garden and large slugs in the bathroom that would leave you speechless. Add two escaped pet white mice and you’ve got the recipes for a good comedy series!

After a year at Wigton Road, we all moved to Howard Place, which was much nicer digs, although I have mixed feelings about living there too. What with a resident ghost that stalked the staircase, and food that ‘disappeared’ out of cupboards at night, it was enough to send a chill down the spine. These were not nearly as scary as the amount of dirty crockery and cutlery that was amassed in the sink when you arrived home, tired and hungry, after a hard day studying.

I made some other good friends during those years, including: Linda, Cathy, Fiona, Rachel, Joy, Andy, Penny and Adrian, to name a few, most of which are still in my life via Facebook, alongside my original housemates, Paul, Richard and Sandi.

It all seems like a long time ago now, but my worrying nature is still with me (a leopard can’t change its spots) and I empathise with all of those that will be starting their studies next month. Nothing is quite as bad as you would imagine (and I have got a good imagination!). Just remember, some research at the University of Cincinnati found that eighty-five percent of what we worry about NEVER happens. It also discovered that 79% of us handle the remaining 15% that does happen in ways that surprise us with our ability to turn the situation around.

 Perhaps this quote from the author Mark Twain, sums it up most effectively:

 I have been through some terrible things in my life,
some of which actually happened. Mark Twain (1835-1910).

10 thoughts on “Thoughts On – Starting College

  1. Your post sounds very familiar to me, Michael. As a lifelong “worry-wart”, I have often thought that if I had used 10 % of the energy I put into worrying about things that never happened for other purposes, I could have achieved great things. :o)

    • You are quite right, Peter. We should spend more time concentrating on putting our energies into the positive aspects of our lives. I am going to give it a go… Thanks so much for the comment and the feedback. Take care of yourself (and the bears), kindest regards, Michael

  2. Some people come into our lives that help ease the situations we are going through… you were there for me, Mike! Don’t be a ‘worry-wart’, be the legend that you are!! Thanks for the memories matey xxx

  3. Hi Cathy, thanks for that great comment – really good of you to say something so generous and profound. Thanks so much. Writing that blog post brought back so many memories of Howard Place…special people and special memories. Take care of yourself. Love, Mike x ps. I am going to try very hard to live up to my status of being a ‘living legend’. :0) x

  4. Ah Mike,
    When we moved into horrible old Morley St., ( also furnished with strains of mould never before seen by mankind and some pretty scary supernatural occurrences too) we thought we were the only ones to ‘slum it’ in such grim conditions. Then we met you boys!!
    You had the equivalent house to ours only it was boy- populated whilst ours was girls- only. That should have meant it was maybe a bit cosier and more fragrant than a lads’ den but I’m ashamed to say it was much the same only we added cheap hairspray over all the mirrors, (big hair days) nail varnish in the carpet and piles of dodgy looking clothes waiting to be washed. Ugh.
    If it wasn’t for you and Richard and Paul coming round and drinking your cut price beer on our shiny-with-dirt-and-sweat couch we might have even been depressed about it.
    But you regaled us with stories of older women and lemon curd sandwiches in your usual deadpan way an made us laugh till we cried. If you remember, we even adorned our walk clock with your image. Anywhere between nine thirty and midnight were your proudest moments 😉
    I don’t miss the poverty, the filth or the ghosts but I do miss you boys, the lovely Jan and Gail and our various escapades. And the worry? If we had only known how little we really had to worry about then; we had our friends and our health and our dreams and our laughs. We must have had pretty good immune systems too.

    • Hi Fiona, your message brought tears to my eyes (of joy, that is). It really made me smile! It’s lovely that you’ve shared your memories, of the squalor and the phantoms, along with mine. I remember the lemon curd sandwiches and the potato salad (with my Northern accent, everyone thought I was asking ‘Would you like some Peter Sellers?’). You were right about how little we had to worry about then: assignments, getting to the launderette, making the most of our precious pennies… We did have our dreams, friends and our health… Thanks again for sharing; rather like old times, isn’t it? Mikey Boy x

  5. Hi Mike. Do you remember me… Michelle Jaggard,, I used to hang around with Penny, Bridget Matthews, Tony Lee. I remember you.. seems like a life time ago now ! great art work

    • Hello Michelle, of course I remember you… :0) I was just looking through some photographs from my college days last week and there were some of you, with Tony and Bridget. Thanks for the compliment about my work – it’s much appreciated. I hope all is well with you. Take care, Mike x

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