16. Thoughts On The Autumn Semester

Heading back to uni is always accompanied with sighs of all the summer plans which didn't quite make it off of the drawing board, or wishes of a quick return to the sunny days of August. But I always find myself looking forward to the Autumn semester as it draws nearer. There is so much about it to love, from the crispy leaves which coat the earth, to pumpkins and chunky woollen sweaters. It has an atmosphere all of its own which no other part of the academic year seems to possess. In a way, it's almost magical in the potential it lines up.
 
No matter where I am in the world, Autumn makes me feel at home - Image copyright Herberger 2017
Having that empty canvas work wise when you return is probably the best feeling. Obviously the assignments will build up and deadlines will draw closer, but the important thing is you don't quite yet have to relinquish your freedom. These are the weeks when I go for walks at sun down to try and soak in some vitamin D after lectures or read Bukowski because no time is ever wrong for his work. For new students, I'd encourage you to get to know your area during the transition from rosy summer into warm fall because this is the time when you'll find which spots make for perfect winter revision sites. My tip would be head towards wherever the hot chocolate has the most froth and sprinkles - it always gets me through that first thousand words more cheerfully.

Autumn is also the time of Halloween and Bonfire Night, which are two of my favourite occasions because of how grounded in history and literature they are. It reminds me why exactly I am doing what I am doing to be surrounded by people telling stories, whether that be about Guy Fawkes or The Wizard of Oz. There are so many things you'll get to do with new friends, from carving pumpkins and watching scary movies to writing essays which cleverly evidence ideas you came up with about books you adore. The creativity is ripe and ready for the taking, even if the rest of the harvest across the UK has all but disappeared in the wake of empty fields and the scarecrows who get left behind.

And more than anything, all of this goes to show that this is the time in the year where it isn't quite hectic note writing time but it isn't time to forget everything you know. There is the space to breathe and learn and be, all of those things that make university such a wonderful environment to exist in. There will be cold evenings and long days, hours of studying and hours of wandering. More than anything? There will be time, and there will be opportunity. Grab it with both hands and in the spring, when all of those leaves have blown away from the ground and the wind is silenced, your tree will be full of leaves again.
 
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