Awkward Silence – Surrey Day 1

You may have noticed that this blog has sprung into action again due to the adventure-filled summer I have planned. Don’t worry, you guys won’t be left in the dark. You can all experience this journey with me by following this blog, so sit back and enjoy – the next stop is the University of Surrey, home of Steve the Stag.

Summer is a time for planning the next stage of your life, and mine involves looking at Universities. My career goal is become a Veterinary Surgeon, and so when I spotted a free (Widening Participation Scheme) Summer School for Veterinary Science, I jumped at the chance to apply. And I got accepted.

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Days seemed to fly past until I found myself on a train headed to Guildford. I encountered no problems along my journey, and even met up with an old acquaintance who’s on the Media Summer School. On arrival, we were directed along a chain of Ambassadors (see Cambridge, this is how you do it) straight to the entrance of the Lecture Theatre.

I picked up my lanyard, welcome pack, and accommodation key, and then joined the ranks of students milling around doing… absolutely nothing. Eyes trained to the floor, hands thrust deep in pockets, and low grunts in response to the Ambassadors’ friendly questions. No one knew each other, and no one seemed to want to change that.

We soon found out that a variety of subject ‘strands’ were here at the same time, and that although we had different timetables, the majority of social activities would be done as a whole group. Another way to get us to mingle.

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A short introduction talk later, we met the Ambassadors for our flats and were sent to drop off our luggage. These were different people to those looking after our strands, since obviously splitting students by subject and by gender are two completely separate matters.

By the way, I cannot recommend Surrey highly enough for their LGBT reputation. I noted on my form that I was transgender, and so received a personal phone call a few weeks ago asking which dormitories I would like to stay in. I identify as male and so I picked the boys, and no one batted an eyelid.

This is the first time I’ve been on a residential since coming out, and I can actually say I feel comfortable in my own skin. They also made excellent arrangements for those observing Ramadan – providing a meal at the start of the day and take away meals from restaurants for once the sun goes down.

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So, anyway, after sorting out our flats, we split into strands and had a session with the infamous Icebreakers. Our Ambassadors chose to play Human Bingo, where you have to find someone for each piece of criteria eg. speaks 3 languages (this guy) or knows what a mandible is (the lower jaw bone of a mammal or fish). Then we were lead on a treasure hunt around campus, which my team obviously won.

We had a lecture from the Head of the Veterinary Science department about how great Surrey is, why we should go to Surrey, and what kind of things we could do – at Surrey. Followed by a quiz on animal organs and their various conditions (diseases, tumours etc.), it was certainly an interesting way to start the course.

At the end of the day, food was eaten, names were learnt and forgotten, and we retired to our rooms to enjoy the most important part of residentials – the free WiFi.

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