Snap. The cereal chum of ‘Crackle’ and ‘Pop’ and a card game that inevitably results in hostility and damaged digits. Snap is also the noise my student card made as it split in twain this week. It fractured through my mishandling but I like to think that it snapped under the pressure. The pressure of getting yet another book out of ol’ faithful, Eddy B, another weight on my back and just too much for my student card. In a way, I feel somehow connected to it. Like Frodo and the Ring, we are bound to each other. It feels what I feel. I feel what it feels. And I too have cracked.
Currently, I feel like I’m going the wrong way up an escalator, taking each heavy step with no end in sight. The work just never ends. Handing in my dissertation was a little relief but there’s still more to do and like my ID, I’ve had enough. I took the remnants of my card to the Ziff building to get a new one. They sat me down and took my picture. A few moments later they gave me my new card. On it I saw something I wasn’t expecting. Like Dorian Gray, the destruction of my old image has revealed the hideous truth. My old picture had shown Luke Murphy; fresh faced, hopeful, full of life. Now, all I see is a haggard man, unkempt and exhausted. Eyes once glowing are now dead and empty. What have I become? What has this place done to me? University was meant to give me life experience but I fear it has in fact reduced my life expectancy.
The image, which now lurks in my wallet, is the result of three (/two) years of grafting for a degree which currently seems as useful as a B grade GCSE in Dance. It may also be due, in part, to getting older and not looking after myself like my mum warned me to. But I can’t help but accuse the stress and hellish persistence of my degree for creating the monster I’ve become. Once, men would fight to buy me champagne for my looks, like Samantha Brick. Now, at best, I’m ‘ok’ if in a sufficiently darkened room, like Samantha Brick. University has taken my youth. I won’t get it back. I’ll get a degree. Oh good. You’ve got one too? Snap.