This Is It
Dull, wet and bleak. That’s what the outside world holds for me right now. It’s 5:45 AM, I’ve had 4 hours sleep, maximum, yet I’ve never felt so alive. Light on, coffee made, shirt buttoned and a slight flick of the hair is all I need. By 6:15 AM, I’m ready and waiting at the front door.Thank god, I’m getting a lift. Bag on the shoulder, coffee in hand and out the door I go, ready to embrace this nerve wrecking day.
The Commute Pt. 1
Blackpool North station is abandoned. I can hear the trains outside warming up. The floor squeaky and clean, walls offering no life or excitement. The station is just one long, daunting room, with brown wooden doors leading out to platforms placed next to one another. Out of the 6 platforms, only one is open. Typical. I grab a seat. As the train begins to move through the lifeless countryside, I see droplets of rain splatter and then scrape across the window. On a more appealing day these fields would illuminate green and be filled with all sorts of wildlife, but even they have cowered away hiding.
I pass station after station and watch people come and go. This place definitely quieter than I expected. The train rattles, people cough, and sneeze, the muffled and barely audible voice on the speakers announcing our arrival into Preston. I rise, place my coffee cup in the bin next to me and relocate myself to the exit door.
Things Are Different
As I look around Preston’s station I notice a little more energy and life in the atmosphere. People chatting over a Starbucks, others eating in the many stalls through the station, Virgin Train staff greeting and conversing with people as they enter and leave. A very different environment compared to the one in Blackpool. The station painted in colours of faded red and grey, giving off the impression of age. The walls echo with every footstep. I glance at the information board, 3C is where I need to be. Luckily that platform is at the very edge of the station, making it easy to find in this maze. I walk on up, passing bodied benches, wandering workers and people lingering at the edge of the track, all of them waiting patiently to be transported to another place.
3C is empty, the place deserted.
Could Be a Problem
As I watch and wait, two professionally dressed men approach the platform, both in smart ironed suits, both sporting similar facial features to my own, I assume they are of the same age as me. As this assumption lingers in my mind, my stomach starts to ache. My heart sinks and panic brews inside of me. What if they are here for the same reason I am? What if they are in the appropriate dress code? Somehow, I strongly believe that my washed out black skinny jeans, distressed brown boots, and a pink cotton shirt is deemed unacceptable. My forehead and palms begin to sweat. My mind working overtime to establish reasonable solutions to this apparent problem.
As I’m on the brink of fleeing, I catch eye to a group of girls also heading for 3C. These girls the saviours to my day. As luck would have it, they too are wearing jeans. Upon passing I eavesdrop into their conversation and recognise words like “PGCE”, “Pre-Course Day”, “Edge Hill” and so on. Within a split second of those words reaching my ears, the previously sunken heart catapulted back into its usual position. My mind cleared and the day made sense once more. With this new sense of calm, my palms and forehead dried and I was back to my usual nervous state.
The train glides in, a large sign displaying Ormskirk above the window. The doors shoot open and I step onto the carriage.
Ormskirk I’m coming.
The Commute Pt. 2
Peaceful, that was the atmosphere on this train. People scattered, secluded and conserved. As my eyes scan the area I notice everyone doing their own thing. Some were reading, some listening to horrendous scream like music and the majority were playing on their phones, submerged into their screens. A few, however, like me, are taking in the surroundings, perhaps experiencing this journey for the first time. I have a feeling they are as nervous as I am. On closer inspection of the carriage, I also manage to spot two individuals having a conversation. Well, somewhat of a conversation. One broad, confident looking woman was spewing out sentences and words at a rapid rate, whilst the other individual, a middle-aged bald man, had his eyes closed with a hand supporting his head. I assume a post wake up/pre-work nap.
This is the life of an everyday commuter; a group I am not yet apart of.
The seats are rattling, the air is damp and the tension is high. We pull in, passengers flee from every exit. I latch myself onto the swarm of people traveling through the station. We go right, then we go left, then suddenly as if rehearsed they all dispersed in separate directions. Some climbing into taxis, others boarding the bus, I’m left alone. I close my eyes and try to remember the direction I walked last time. Straight ahead and on the right, I hope. Ormskirk is a small town so I can’t imagine it being too difficult.
Edge Hill University, right in front of me.
A New Start
The entrance is wide, the road long. I look upon the huge historic building ahead and get the sense of a university in the states. Surrounded by large open spaces and smaller buildings scattered around the campus. Again, my heart drops, this time with the amount of excitement and nerves I feel, all swirling around inside. I push the large oak doors, make my way through reception, down the hall, through the canteen, past a shop, out a door, across an ache, around a lake and finally through the sliding doors of the Faculty of Education building. No lines exist here, instead, the masses are gathered around the registration desk fighting to sign in and be given a group.
I scribble my name, well something that’s supposed to look like my name on a badge, place it on the right-hand side of my chest, get my group and head to the lecture theatre.
This is it.
I find a seat amongst the numbers in front of me. Get my notepad and pen and place it on the desk. Looking around I see an assortment of people all with unique background stories, all with interesting personalities. I buzz a little from the thought of meeting new people. The lights die down, the screen turns on and the voice of the woman at the front echoes around the room.
It starts here.