Saturday, 7 June 2008

First Year, First Nightmare: Uni newspaper first piece

First Year, First Nightmare:

Lost. I’m lost. Those were the troubling words which haunted Sarah’s mind. Each thought sending shock waves of panic down to her racing heart.
The huge buildings felt like giants around her as she took turn after turn, went down so many different corridors, up several sets of stairs. Each room she passed had numbers on them but none matched those on her timetable; which was gripped tightly in her trembling hands.
She wasn’t alone in this vast complex but the fact didn’t do much to calm her down. She ran past various numbers of people but none of them registered her presence amongst them or heard her calls for help nor see the panic and fear in her eyes.
So she continued to run, in every direction, going round in circles. Constantly consulting her timetable in the vain hope she had read the number wrong but it was always the same. In simple, black, bold lettering. Lecture room number XG/12. She had no idea where a block could be that began with the letter X. That was when she realised it must be part of another building. A building she had no knowledge of.
Eventually she cracked, the panic freezing her heart with fear and sending her mind in a spiral of confusion. She charged into the Students Union, struggling to hold back the tears until she had locked herself inside the girl’s toilets. She crumbled to the floor in despair and cried. Cried for getting lost, cried for being alone and cried for her fear of asking for help.
Somewhere at the back of her mind a clock alarm began to beep.

“Morning Sarah.” Dave greeted her as they met in their communal kitchen at seven that morning.
“Morning.” She mumbled, not hiding her weariness in her voice.
“Late night was it?”
She paused in reply. “Something like that.” She looked up at Dave and fixed him with a pleading gaze. “Are you going into Uni this morning?”
“Nope. Got most of the morning off. First seminar isn’t till about three.”
“What are you doing awake at this time then? You could have a lie in.”
“I know but I might go into town just before lunch and have a wander to find out where everything is.”
A shiver went down Sarah’s spine, she didn’t reply, just turned all her attention quickly to her cereal, blocking out last nights nightmare.

The half eight bus had a long que to take on board being the first official day of term. Sarah was stuck in the middle of the que, alone. Her timetable in her pocket ready to check if needs be.
Once the bus had set off away from Storthes Hall Sarah gazed out the window, trying not to think about the dream and praying she will have the courage to ask for help. It was just as her mind began to drift off that a conversation behind her caught her attention and brought her back to the present.
“I have no idea where it could be. You will have to ask someone.” A girl replied behind her. Sarah stole a quick glance behind and saw two girls, one had her timetable out and the other was looking at it curiously.
“XG/12. I don’t think it is in my English block, it’s called the West Building so all the numbers begin with a W.”
Sarah took a deep breath and said a quick prayer in her mind that she wouldn’t look too foolish for interrupting them.
“XG/12 did you say?” They both immediately fixed her with a cautious glance.
“Yeah do you know where it is?”
“No I’m afraid but I am also looking for that room. I’m Sarah by the way.”
“Oh hi, I’m Emily and this is my flat mate Hannah. Are you doing an English course too?”
Sarah nodded hello to Hannah who gave her a friendly smile. “Yeah, English Studies.”
“Cool same here.”
“I have been wondering where that room was all weekend. I’m pleased I have found someone else as lost as me.”
“Same, I guess we will have to ask someone.” Emily answered; there was a certain warmth in her voice that Sarah liked. Her fears immediately began to fade.
The rest of the journey the trio of girls talked about their flats, flat mates, the nights out at the D-bar and any other matter they found in common. Before they knew it they were at the university.

“So where do we start? We know it isn’t in our block.” Sarah asked, needlessly fiddling with her timetable by folding it in various ways as they looked around the English block entrance.
“First we must find someone who we think knows their way around here and then ask them to tell us where to go. We have fifteen minutes so unless no one helps us I think we should make the lecture.” Emily explained sounding very confident and making Sarah feel a bit better. “Look we will ask him.” She pointed out the large windows across to the small round about at the University entrance; where a guy in a bright orange t-shirt saying Student Helper stood talking to others who had gathered around him. She quickly led the way across just as the guy waved off another small group of girls towards the library.
He immediately looked at both Sarah and Emily’s approach with a smile.
“Hi there, are you two ladies needing some help?”
“Yes please. We’re trying to find lecture room….XG/12?” Emily asked simply. Sarah merely smiled sheepishly.
“Right your in luck as that room is in my block, the science block. You see the building which makes the bridge connected to the West Building?” Pointing at the set of glass windows bridging over to the side of the building in question. They both nodded. “Good, you follow the path on that side, round that corner on the right, go through the doors with the sign Courtyard Café on, follow the corridor down to your left and take the first set of stairs on your left. Once up them head right and you will find that room shortly round another corner. As long as you get to that floor you should be ok and just follow the room numbers round to the one you’re after. Ok?”
“Yeah thanks!” Emily answered graciously before turning on her heels and leading Sarah whom happily followed behind her.
Within five minutes they were outside XG/12, waiting with a growing number of other nervous students.
“You wouldn’t believe how scared I was of getting lost trying to find this place.” Sarah admitted to Emily.
“Well you shouldn’t be. There are always people around you can ask for help. Everyone who has ever come here would have felt helpless at some point so they would have had to ask. That’s what I like about Huddersfield, everyone is so helpful. Never be afraid to ask.” With that lesson in mind they went into their first lecture of the year. After the first few weeks, Sarah began to memorise her way around campus didn’t have anymore nightmares.

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