The world begins again for me today.  Orientation day!  University Orienation day!  


This is something I have looked forward to every year since the end of high school.  Going to University, going to orientation - on campus.  I've always looked over from the other side of the fence, fantasizing about the new friendships I'd make, what the experience would be like. 


The idea of going to college while working a full-time job has never been attactive to me, neither has the idea of doing it online.  No, it had to be on campus.  That fabled collegiate experience, as described in books like 'The Secret History' by Donna Tart.  Oh how I've romanticized the idea of going to lectures and arguing with my professors and working on my papers and sitting under ancient cotton trees reading great literature....


Then came 2020.


The year when my beloved papa died.


The year I turned 41!


The year I decided to go back to work when all the tourists left and no one came to buy my art.


The year, when I finally decide to go drop everything and go to University because I'd planned and saved up enough and was bursting at the seams with excitement to go. 


The year when Covid-19 happened and the markets crashed and said savings eroded overnight.


Yet, the world still turns and today is Orientation Day for me.  My first official day of University.


Orientation will be online. No new friends to meet.  No wandering around campus afterwards, no visiting my faculty and sneaking into lecture halls; no visiting the bookshop afterwards.  


Classes begin in just over a week. They too will be online.  ALL OF THEM.  Classes that before now, absolutely couldn't be delivered online even if I were willing to study that way; are now offered online, exclusively.  At least for now.  I get distracted easily; too many bright and shiny thoughts in my head to stay focused, especially in an online learning environment.  That's why I prefer face to face learning.  That, and my mother always told me "mek sure yuh look eena teacher mout' and ketch everyting".  By this she meant, pay attention to what the teacher says - for there was no guarantee I'd have any other assistance when classes were over.  There was no guarantee I'd even have the textbook for homework.  So I learned to pay attention and ask plenty questions in class.  After a while, I didn't even need to study much, at least not the subjects I enjoyed; so good I was at paying attention and remembering everything taught in class.  Now I have to adjust.  'Cause, Covid.


Had I known a year ago that Covid-19 was coming, would I have defered University for a year?  Maybe not.  But If I hadn't I would now be enrolled in art school - for that was last years plan; instead of now being at UWI reading for Literatures in English, my first and truest love.  Had I know that this was my father's final year, would I have spent more time with him, would I have listened to even more of his stories, written down more?  Would I have saved more? What would I have done differently, had I known then, what I know now.


The world is always coming to an end and new ones are always being birthed...


I hope things get better.  I want to sit in class and have nothing else to do except to "look eena teacha mout!" and discuss deep literature with my pals, though I've waited so long to do this they'll be easily 20 years younger than me.  I want to paint and wander and read and laugh and play in my garden again.  


But still, now I work and make new friends and build empires and legacies, and learn and change and adapt and live with the loss of my great beloved papa. Now I work around Covid and await new art supplies and try to stay safe and healthy and sane, while I get ready to go back to school.


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