23rd October 1973

Winnie 78In the stillness of my room, overlooking Tillingbourne House, the sense of lethargy I’ve been feeling all day sinks in again.
I just don’t know what to do with myself, and I’m not the only one, as Bev and Anne feel the same.
I think it’s depression, caused by being on site (Campus) all the time; walking backwards and forwards across the same patch of grass and concrete...though ‘up and down’ would be more accurate, with Surrey University built on Stag Hill, as it is.

I can remember passing Guildford in the car at the tender age of eight (with my foster parents). At that time, they were just completing the building of what I then thought was Guildford Cathedral (on top of Stag Hill), though it must have been the Campus. But the Campus is, as yet, unfinished, as buildings are going up at both ends; including the new Linguistics Department, which is direly needed, as it will relieve the strain of sitting almost on each other’s laps in the present cramped department. But, of course, the Arts (faculty) comes a poor second, as Surrey is primarily a technological university (originally a Technical College until granted its charter in the late sixties).
This also explains why the ratio of blokes to girls is 7 to 3, causing problems for both groups.
One novel example of this:- It costs a mere 5p for girls to join the Computer Dating Agency, and 10p for the blokes, who are evidently more in need of it (purely in terms of ratio of boys-girls).

The facilities on site are reasonably good. I popped off down to the bookshop this evening to buy a book; and found another on Aldous Huxley’s ‘Stories, Essays and Poems’, which cheers me up, as it shows class.
There is a Food Hall, which caters very adequately for those of (very) modest palate; and the 15 minute struggle back uphill from town laden with arms full of shopping on Saturday can only improve one’s fitness in general.
Most students tend to go shopping on Saturday mornings (at which time one comes close to shedding blood in the packed High Street) and/or Wednesday afternoons, when the University has few lectures.
Most of the sports are held at this time...sub-aqua, sailing, horse-riding, something which is a mixture between rugby and netball (?) and such good old basics as football and hockey.

There are also a number of clubs, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous; including a Porridge Club (whose members believe in the furthering of Oats!), a Ceiligh club, an Afro-Caribbean Club and (trumpets, please!) the University’s very own radio, Radio Surrey (postscript - this radio station later met competition from Capital Radio, from 1974, among student listeners, myself included; particularly the dulcet tones of Capital’s ‘little Nicky Horn’ and his mean choice of Rock and Pop music).

There is a ‘listen unit’, to help those who feel lonely or depressed (for example, before exams). They call themselves ‘Nightline’, are housed in Surrey Court, and stay open from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
My choice? Riding Club, Country Dancing (we’re off for a gay galavant this very night) and the Stag Hill film society, which shows so-called Avant-garde films.
I’m also hoping to have a go at the Gilbert and Sullivan society, who are putting on a production of ‘The Mikado’ sometime around Easter (postscript - I played one of the ‘Little Maids from School’).

The only time in the week when there is absolutely nothing to do - except watch the Arab-Israeli news! - is at the weekend, when people tend to go home, sleep off the effects of their exhausting week, or partake of the dubious occupation known as studying. Apparently, this is a very rare occupation in the first year of University; which is why I am thought to be a bit of a strange fish. After my year of working abroad, it is a pleasant novelty for me to be able to study again.

One of our extracurricular activities (although still part of our course study) is General Activities. Various lecturers from Surrey’s numerous departments talk on their subject, which we afterwards tear to bits in our discussion groups. For this group, we also have a topic of our own choice to write about. I have already handed in an essay on ‘Alcoholism’, which I find very interesting, as it is a common phenomenon of our society, which needs closer study, in order to understand such people. It shows disenchantment with oneself or one’s life.... a loss of all-important faith in oneself.

At the moment I am happy with my chosen subject, which is German, with Swedish as my subsidiary language and Law as my Special Study. Our Swedish lecturer (lecturess?) is exceptionally good; it’s about the only lecture in which nobody thinks of falling asleep; and it’s marvellous to be learning a completely new language (for us) and one which is so different in sound from the European languages (postscript - Swedish has a sing-song intonation with pronunciation which we spent the whole of the first term in the audio room, trying to master).

I’m rather proud that I have not yet eaten in the Hall Bar or restaurant, which seems to be the general run of things; especially at lunchtimes, as the meals are quite reasonable in price, if not always in quality. Surprisingly enough, most of the catering seems to be done by Spanish people. I hadn’t realised that there were quite so many menial (sic) workers here in Britain. Perhaps it’s only confined to this area, which is specifically a commuter belt.

Anne and I went to a good film last night in the Civic Hall in Guildford. The walk there and back practically wore us out, but to see another of Ken Russell’s brilliant productions was well worth it! (p.s. possibly ‘The Nuns of Verdun’)

(c) 2001 Winnie Quinn

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