Nearly three years ago, Tim and I flew from Cyprus to the UK to start the process that would enable him to begin student life at Newman University.
Today, the first stage of his student life has come to a close. His third-year dissertation and three other assignments were due to be handed in at the beginning of May, but since Easter is approaching and we're going to Carlisle for Daniel and Becky's wedding on Monday, Tim wanted everything finished this week. Preferably by today.
So he's been, so to speak, on the treadmill for the past ten days or so. Reading, researching, typing, compiling biographies, printing, agonising over what to say. The dissertation was basically organised, with just a little writing left to do, and there was one assignment due a couple of days ago, which he handed in at the end of last week. Since I came out to help with proof-reading nearly two weeks ago, he's spent every moment, just about, working. I've been out and about, and spent time with friends, which has been fun... and I've also proof-read about 25,000 words.
Yesterday, about 10.00pm, the process finally came to an end. I sat with him as he made a couple of last minor changes to his dissertation conclusion, and then he printed out all 62 pages (including appendices) twice.
This morning, he appeared at the front door looking like the Chancellor on budget day. He did offer to go and get his satchel so as to look more authentic, but we felt that would be overkill...
Since Richard's now here and has a rental car, we drove him to Newman, as it's rather quicker than going by bus:
As well as the important paperwork, Tim had a bag of books to return to the library:
There were thirteen of them in all, and he knew he would have to pay fines for some of them which he had forgotten to renew.
He made it up the steps with his heavy load....
We had to sign in, then he took us to the library so he could return all the books, and pay the fine. It turned out that although he had his wallet, he'd forgotten to bring any money, other than about 90p.. so I gave him the extra pound he needed. And the two pounds for getting his dissertation copies spiral bound with rather smart red covers.
Then, finally, we arrived in the university hub so that, perhaps for the last time, he could fill in the green forms necessary for handing in assignments:
While he was doing that, I took the opportunity to photograph the evidence:
We were slightly confused in that there was information on the table saying that dissertations had to be bound in maroon covers, and these were red.. but apparently they were the correct Newman colours.
Then, at last, Tim headed to the desk. The lady behind was very helpful and encouraging, and pleased to see the dissertation, although apparently she has already accepted two or three, so he wasn't the first to finish.
And finally, a special bonus reward for three years of hard work... yes! A free Newman rubber band to hold the two copies of his dissertation together!
I asked if he felt at all sad to have come to the end of his degree course, and he said no, he was very pleased to have finished all the work. And, all being well, he'll be back at Newman in September to start his PGCE course.
Oh, and when I said that Tim had been on the treadmill this week, it wasn't totally metaphorical...