So I’m going back to university next week! I did my first degree in Classical Civilisation at Leeds University from 1996-1999. I’m going to Cranmer Hall, Durham University next week to study for a BA in Theology and Ministry as part of my training to be a priest in the Anglican Church.
One would have thought that 16 years wasn’t really that long a time. I think life at university between 1980 & 1996 was probably fairly similar but the gulf between my first experience of university in the 90s and now seems huge because of the digital revolution that has occurred since then!
What I didn’t have in 1996:
- a mobile phone. I queued to use the payphone in halls with everyone else.
- a computer. I used the computer suites at the university – those in the Chemistry department were the best I seem to remember. We were forever leaving floppy disks in the machines!
- the ability to read journal articles electronically. If you wanted to borrow a single article you could. The library would have a certain number printed and you could withdraw them for one hour before returning them.
- an MP3 player. I had only just got my first CD player for my 19th birthday. I took loads of tapes to university.
- social media. The internet was new. I used Yahoo to find things. The internet then worked like a giant encyclopaedia but not much more than that. Email was barely used, it was a novelty.
All of the above I can’t now imagine living without. I’ve been worrying that the wifi access in my halls at Durham might not be as fast as I’m used to!
One of the random things I saved from my time at university were the post it notes we used to leave on each other’s doors. I guess this was proto-social networking really. This was before text messaging and Facebook and was the way we’d communicate short messages. Here is a selection, they’re very funny. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
I was speaking to a student recently and they said they couldn’t imagine what it must have been like to go to university without Facebook! I have enjoyed the fact that I’ve already met quite a few of my fellow students at Cranmer Hall online on Twitter and Facebook. This just didn’t happen in 1996 – you went in cold. Freshers’ week was something of a nightmare of repeating where you came from, what you’re studying and what A-levels you did!
I wonder if studying in 2012 will be much different than it was for me in 1996? I hope my feelings about Ancient Greek will be different this time around (see above image)! I think I’ll be much quicker at writing essays as I used to write them out long-hand and then type them up using two fingers. But then I didn’t have the distraction of social media and the internet whilst writing them!
I’ll record anything I learn here!