It is my last day in Brighton. When I first arrived, a year ago, I was kind of excited about doing my MA. Few days after my arrival, I was homesick and crying in my room. I don’t know why, but I was very stressed out back then. There were several things that I had to take care of but couldn’t figure out immediately. I had to complete my registration, open a bank account, figure out my classes schedule, figure out transportations to the city, buy a new laptop, get a phone card, and configure the internet connection on my phone and ipad. Everything felt so damn difficult, and not knowing anyone, I felt very lonely.
I thought that things would get better once I start attending my classes, but it actually got worse. I was there, sitting in a class of psychoanalysis with around another 14 students. They all looked young, European, and smart! They all had a bachelor degree in English Literature whereas mine was computer science (from Jordan’s university long long time ago). I never studied Literature, and had no idea what ‘critical thinking’ means. I was excited about the creative, wanted to read and write fiction and improve my writing skills. I didn’t really understand the nature of the course before joining, and I take full blame of that. It is split between the creative and the critical. Now I see the importance of it. But at that time, when I started reading different critical essays, I used to understand little, and in class, I used to stay silent, trying to understand the course of discussion and the different accents of the students. The fact that they could read different dimensions of a text which I could barely understand its meaning used to scare me out. Even the silent ones, whom I initially thought were less smart (like me), felt to be brilliant once they spoke up!
Two to three weeks down the line, I remember sitting there thinking to myself. I left my family, my friends and all the people who I love. I left my comfortable life, the sense of achievement I had back then after the success of Aroos Amman, and my well paying job. I left all of that to become a student again, at the age of 34 walking down the campus around 18-22 students and some postgraduates in their early twenties! I thought that I left everything for nothing as I became convinced that I am not getting much of the course and that there is no way that I could make it and pass. The thought of withdrawing from the course and the scholarship crossed my mind.
I was wrong. I learnt a lot. I had to endure several months till the end of the first term to gain back some confidence in my ability to make it. I enjoyed reading psychoanalysis and utopian/dystopian novels. I enjoyed the discussions that took place in classes even though I remained shy from participating in them. I thought that I had done a good job for the term papers and was happy to pass. On the personal side, I started to develop some friendships and became less lonely. I figured out everything I needed to live here and felt less stressed. Still, for few months, I used to open up my eyes at night hoping to see myself back in my room in Amman.
My visits to Jordan helped a lot. I went back for few days in late October to participate in Seven’s play. I went back for a month on Christmas holidays and another month for the Easter holidays. Those were refreshing times where you realise that things are still the same back home and that I haven’t lost anything. Though now it feels the year has passed very fast, the first couple of weeks felt like years for me.
I am usually a happy person and I don’t indulge myself in stressful thoughts. That’s why I couldn’t understand the way I felt at the beginning of my arrival here. I fought for this scholarship for many years. I dreamt about doing my MA in the UK. I was bored after many years of working and needed a break. I loved reading and writing and was looking forward to a year full of it. It was everything that I wanted. But it also turned into ‘be careful what you wish for’, and all I wished for was going back home.
Fast forward, I am going back home tomorrow, and I am happy about it. Things have gotten much better here for me. I developed some good friendships that would last for life. I met some amazing people whom I’d always love and remember. I learned many things; I could feel an improvement in the way I think, talk and write. I am not sure if I could say that Brighton became to feel like a second home, I do love this place now and I know that I am going to miss it. But what I am pretty sure about, and can say it in a full mouth: there is nothing like home :)
I am happy for getting done with my MA and returning back home. I am gonna miss so many people here, but excited to see lots of other waiting for me.