Back to school

You'd think that you might grow out of back to school nerves by your 18th consecutive year of formal education. But no, every September they boomerang back around, bringing with them a freshly tangled web of illogical paranoia and loss of reason.

Will the other kids like me? Will I have forgotten how to write over the summer? Will my summer homework reflect the hours I put into it?

The worries of five-year-old Mimi Doulton translate pretty well into the worries of today. If you replace kids with whatever we are now. (Youths? Post-teenagers? ADULTS???) And writing with singing, summer homework with hours invested in trying to master new vocalises.

I count myself lucky that by the time you reach higher education, you at least have more autonomy over what you are studying. I can choose modules to reflect my strengths or to work on my weaknesses and I know that I have agreed to learn Webern's opus 14 by the end of October. Perhaps this is in some ways easier than returning to school aged seven and being informed that you have 10 weeks to learn all of your times-tables. At least I know what I have let myself in for this time. Granted, my seven-year-old self didn't have to juggle her times-tables with freelancing and a part-time job. But I am hoping that the intervening years have equipped me to be more capable than a seven-year-old...

The thought of going back to Guildhall fills me with roughly the same mixture of excitement and anxiety as I have felt at this time every year. And in a way, I enjoy it. This is a feeling I associate with learning, with opportunity, and with the luxury of educating myself for a better future. If you look at it that way - if you look at it rationally - a little bit of nerves might just be a good thing.