Freshers Week

Hey everyone. This poem takes me back 20 years to my freshers week at the University of Strathclyde and charts my journey from my first day of freshers week to graduation and beyond, then back to where it all began. I have given it the title Freshers Week I hope you enjoy the read

Freshers Week

Can it really be all those years

since freshers week

how time flies

an early thirty something

I tried to fit in

and eventually did

finding my place and identity

the christian union member

who went to the LGBT society

but never came out to friends

for fear of rejection

the SNP voter

who backed a Labour student in a union election

Kirsty was worth it

she probably knew more about me

than she let on

we did meet at the debating society after all

along with others

she gave me the confidence to stand tall

though at that time I couldn’t do heels

still can’t if I’m honest

Geography and Politics would become my degree

my reward for four years of hard work

on days when I’d pack secret skirts

at the bottom of a pile of books

preparation for Polo nights on Friday’s

from third year on

as my new dawn began to see the day

friends were made along the way

Ailsa, Carolyn, Katrina

they knew I was a dreamer even then

would I do it all again?

You bet I would

memories were made which I still cherish

like the day we perished in second year snow

rushing from the library to hand in essays

minutes before the deadline

the things we would do to be on time

like someone I know rushing to West European Politics

just before the lecture started

announcing their arrival to the class

by tripping down the stairs

and almost falling on their ass

big Russell laughed at that

and still hasn’t let me forget it

I recall the night a now  respected sports journalist

told an intruder mess with my friend and you’ll regret it.

there are so many tales I could tell on the team

who went to hell and back

and did it together

to paraphrase the words of Oasis and The Spice Girls

we rolled with it for what seemed like forever

we partied like we studied

hard and for hours on end

God knows wee Charissa was the sensible one

Well her and Nicola

who was star of the geography class

on field trips to Newcastle and The Hague

In the name of our degree

can it really be so long

since the journey began

time has flown so fast

our futures are shaped by our past

freshers ball would be different

If the chance came again

I would wear that little black dress

I wanted to wear on the night

I would do things slightly differently

be daring but with dignity

those days are behind me now

I’m proud of my honours

and as I reflect on time well spent

I see a success

who made it on my terms

I’ve done things I never thought I could

lived a life I never thought I would

finally joined the SNP

become the woman I had to be

the poet and equal rights campaigner

who isn’t afraid to speak her mind

or blog her thoughts

to fight for Scots, Britons, and global citizens

who won’t let the gains we fought for and won

be given up by others

I have discovered a confidence

in myself and in humanity

the seeds of which began to bloom

in the madness and insanity

that was freshers week

@ Gayle Smith 2015

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