As you read this, I am walking into a utilitarian looking classroom in a resplendent concrete block from the 1960′s. I am sitting on an orthopaedically unsound chair at an awkward desk, arranging my pens into preferential order. Someone I’ve never seen before is handing out test papers and explaining rules. My head is clouded by protocols and procedures, do’s and dont’s, whilst desperately trying to cling on to the multitude of facts that I’ve crammed inside my head over the past week. I grab a pen, try to work out how to hold it in my clammy hand for the next three hours and try not to think about how much cramp I’m going to imminently suffer from. I’m looking around for familiar faces, searching for the heart-thumping anxiety in my peers that is rocking my own chest, wondering why I didn’t do more…
And then I turn over my paper and begin.
Today is the exam for the first year of my masters degree. Not only do I write wedding reports, I also write conservation reports, statements of heritage significance and conservation appraisals. I do all this because I love the heritage that is unique to our beautiful country and I want it to still be there for generations to come. I do it because I crave knowledge and always want to know more about everything. I do it because this time last year, I thought this would be my career. But a change of government later, some severe spending cuts and a corporation in a tailspin and suddenly it looks like the whole heritage sector is collapsing & there’s no room for little old me.
So I’m glad you’re reading this, because that means that you’re interested in The Wedding Reporter, which is my salvation. Your interest means I don’t have to worry quite so much about impending redundancies. It means I can hope that one day I won’t have to take anymore exams because all I’ll have to focus on is writing for my pleasure and yours, not for assessment by some faceless academic who checks boxes all day long. There’s really no scope for romantic creative writing in exam questions about the town and country planning act, you know…
When this is done, I am going to walk out of this room, I’m going to ignore the inevitable dissection of the exam by my peers, and I am going to spend a small fortune on bikinis before hopping on a plane to sunny hot climes with my adorable wingman for a week. I will of course miss you whilst I’m gone, but I’ll love the rest and I can’t wait to get back and start making something beautiful for you all to read soon.