July 10, 2019

Perfect fear casts out love.

8.30 am: Out onto the streets and into town, via Tesco Express, and towards the School of Art for the Open Day. 8.40 am:

It was a dismal morning – muggy and unyielding. The Open Day began at 10.00 am. There were, however, a few early birds who came to register, believing that we were the Arts Centre. The latter experiences the same problem, but the other way around. The couriers get confused too. I remembered the Open Days that my sons attended – as far flung as Glasgow and Exeter. They were happy days of anticipation, as we together wondered how their ‘A’-levels would play out, whether they would apply for the most appropriate courses, and where they’d find their place in life. Mercifully, all things worked to their good. I’m very proud of them. For parents, as much as for school students, the process of searching and sifting can be an anxious and perplexing time.

10.00 am: The crowd began to pour in, as family clusters, through the back door. (A far less grand entrance during the period of the front-porch renovations.) Our excellent Ambassadors shuttled groups of inquirers around the building, speaking enthusiastically about School life and its resources, like seasoned tour guides. We couldn’t do without them. A general air of busyness and excitement pervaded the corridors. The workmen outside were careful to keep their noise down. Not that we could hear them above our own volume.

When I wasn’t usefully employed either smiling at our guests or asking them ‘Are you lost?’, I settled to postgraduate admin, endeavouring to clear the decks of outstanding applications. (As well as find some which I’d dealt with previously, back on the university portal awaiting a decision again.)

Besides an instructive introduction, there was much for the visitors to see: two curated exhibitions in the School of Art Gallery; a show of BA and MA fine art work in one of the upper studios; and a rolling show of outputs from the Creative Arts degree, downstairs:

But it’s often through the casual conversations between the inquirers and our students and staff that determinations are confirmed. For mature students particularly, entering Higher Education is a daunting prospect. It takes great courage just to cross the threshold of the building. That’s to be expected. They’re in an environment for which they may have no acquired experience and confidence.

2.00 pm: Things began to quieten down after lunch. I dealt with several MA inquiries during the day. Unfortunately, we aren’t taking on any more application for the 2019–20/1 intake. Nevertheless, I was happy to advise them about future entry. And some, in the past, have benefited from a year’s run-in before taking up the degree.

4.00 pm: I had two teaching commitments to honour before pulling the plug on the afternoon session.

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