There is no turning back now. I logged out of my office computer for the last time on 2 September having set my email and voicemail out of office messages. I obtained my manager’s signature, the IT department’s signature and the human resources department’s sign off to prove I had handed in or over anything in my possession that was work related. This lengthy process served to further cement in my mind that I was making the right decision.
Having fulfilled my bureaucratic duties, I finally surrendered my security pass before walking over to the local bar for leaving drinks, clutching a bonsai tree, my tea mug and chocolates – presents from my team. Remarkably all of these items were still in my possession when I stumbled out of the same bar some time later that Friday evening.
There was little time to reflect on my decision to leave my job for pastures new. Early the next morning and somewhat worse for wear, I gathered my belongings together at my rented home in east London and made my way back to Chessington. I settled myself in and prepared for my enrolment at Merrist Wood College on the Monday.
I assembled my qualification certificates, identification documents and my credit card before setting off towards Worplesdon. I had everything I needed and fully anticipated to be in and out of College within 30 minutes. What I hadn’t considered was something that would have been at the very forefront of my mind as an 18 year old. The digital photograph that had to be taken for my student identity card. I found myself in limited make-up, hair scraped back into a ponytail in baggy trousers and a t-shirt surrounded by youthful types, dressed to impress.
After completing the signing of documents and payment of tuition fees, I made a quick bee-line for the ladies toilets. I scrabbled about in my handbag and found some make-up remnants and a comb. I did the best I could with the limited tools to hand and returned to the enrolment room ready for my close-up. I didn’t see the final portrait to be used for my identity card for the coming academic year. Fingers crossed it doesn’t look like it belongs on Britain’s most wanted gallery. I guess I will find out in two days time when I begin my first day as a horticulture student.
In the meantime I have had my bi-annual haircut to spruce myself up a bit. Just leaves me to leaf through the ‘first day agenda’. I think I am ready.