My final year of university officially began last week during Freshers’ (and Introductory) Week, but it’s this week that things have really kicked off once more. Lectures have begun again in earnest and already I have mountains of reading, coursework titles to choose, a dissertation to organise, Symphony Orchestra rehearsals and various other activities, both musical and not, on the go. (People think that the arts students have it easy, but it’s only because we have so few actual teaching hours – the majority of our degree is based on personal study, which means we actually have to motivate ourselves to work!)
I won’t deny that it’s nice to be busy again. I like to always be doing something; I find it very difficult to sit around, wasting time. (Whether my activities are actually productive or not is not always entirely relevant – I mean, I can spend hours researching for an essay, but I can also quite easily just watch a couple of episodes of television in one sitting too…! After all, I am doing something in both scenarios, it’s just not necessarily something useful!) However, while I may be occupied with my degree and extra-curricular activities, there is one definite down-side to having begun lectures again.
I am a full-time student, living in my university city away from home. University is my life when I am there, and it takes up the majority of my days. When I’m not in class, I’m preparing for class, doing coursework or in a rehearsal. There is suddenly very little time for cooking and baking in my day-to-day life. Often, if I have an evening commitment, I’ll come home after lectures, throw some dinner together, eat and then go straight out again. I am suddenly only cooking because I have to eat – during term-time, I can live off pasta and bolognese or stir-fry and noodles for weeks. I just don’t have the time to cook for enjoyment, unless I actively schedule it into my routine. If I want to cook, I have to plan for it. Baking is even worse. Firstly, as I’ve said before, I don’t have the time. Secondly, I don’t have any of my equipment with me, simply for the practical reason that there’s no-where to store it in my house. (For a six-person house, there is surprisingly little kitchen storage space.) So baking takes a back seat and becomes an occasional weekend past-time, a particular activity that must be planned days in advance. In some ways, it makes it more enjoyable when I do get the chance to do it, but sometimes, I just worry that by suppressing it (out of necessity – I know that this year my degree should take full priority), my passion will die away.
I feel like being at university saps my interest in and love for food. Because it becomes a necessity, I stop taking pleasure in cooking. There’s no fun in cooking for one, anyway. I also can’t just wake up one morning and decide on a whim to make a cake that day. (That’s what I liked about being at home for the summer – being able to cook and bake whenever I wanted to.) I feel frustrated, because having so recently realised that this is what I want to do, I am bursting with ideas and eager to try my hand at new techniques and methods, which I cannot do during term-time.
Instead, I have to make the best of it, write all my ideas down and try and concentrate on the important things this year – after all, by next summer, I’ll have all the time in the world to pursue my dreams.
(Sorry for the lack of cake and the depressing mood in this post – I don’t want to use this blog to complain about things, but I am just particularly frustrated by this today and felt the need to write it out of my system. I’ll be more cheerful next time, I promise!)