And so it begins. The first day of a two year course (Diploma in person-centred counselling) that is going to thrust me out into a whole new world. I am surprisingly more nervous than I think I am.
Going to the library mid-morning and complaining about my library fine actually stirs up more nerves, along with anger and righteous indignation. It would be easier to pay the fine, especially as I notice that this year we all have to read and sign a piece of paper that clearly states that the library shuts for a fortnight in August. So indirectly they have paid attention. To explain this, I took out books on my interview day back in June, assuming that I could renew them twice which would see me through to September. When I told the library that I was unable to renew them the second time they explained that I should have known to bring them in as the library fully closed for a stock take. I didn’t know this and therefore refused to pay the fine of £7 odd. I had to make a special trip into town to return the books and it really really angered me that there was no notification and that the previous renewal email didn’t say you can’t renew but must return. None of this amounts to anything but it does wind me up, very directly and very emotionally.
We are fifteen this year. One is away on holiday so fourteen were present. Two know nobody, with one coming from elsewhere and the other returning to studying after a period of absence. Most of us therefore still huddle in our little groups from previous courses.
And yet it feels so different from this time last year. There is an implied greater trust that we’ve all done the Certificate so the ones who remain are deadly serious about progressing. This is not a course you can be half-hearted about.
It was a boring day to be fair. We went through the handbook and the paperwork and all that stuff. We all admitted with varying levels, to trepidation, anxiety and fear about the day and ended up feeling relieved. The first great sense of relief was that our tutor is experienced at teaching this course and rattled through the boring stuff with a clear sense of competence. C had her for her Intro course and was very enthusiastic. Our tutor demonstrated her ability to get us through the course and deal with the administrative and paperwork side of it that last year’s was weak in, with it being her first year of teaching. So there was a huge sense of relaxation that the unknown tutor had become the known positive.
The second sense of relief was in meeting our peers, most of whom we’d met in the group interview, and realising that no one had two heads. We are all white (which means nothing necessarily) and had a greater gender balance with 5 men to 10 women. Already some are quieter and some less so but that is to be expected. One person slightly niggled.
When it came to our PD group (personal development), we learned that we would be split into two and wondered how this would happen. In a manner reminiscent of secondary school we all stood up and divided ourselves into two halves. I consciously did not stay with my two peers from last year but stayed with the lesser known and possibly more uncomfortable but more challenging half. Looking at the two facilitators to make a snap judgement about who I wanted was a terrible thing to do. I chose the younger black woman with the really colourful scarf as opposed to the older white woman, with grey hair and bright blue fringe. I suppose on some level I don’t want anyone who reminds me of my mother and went for the more different than me person. What the reality is will only be discovered in time. We had a chat, all seemed well and we were let out an hour early which was unexpected.
That was it then. I did think about the parallels with 4son starting at sixth form who had some team bonding days as well as the more boring induction. We both have organised files, dividers, pens and bags and we are both working towards exams that have or may have the power to change our lives.