Last Day of Classes

Finally. At the start of this week it seemed like this day would never get here and yet was here all too soon. The amount of stress at Regents throughout the week was intense. Students I hadn’t seen stress the entire time we were here were feeling it. Many were sick. Many burnt out. Some ready to go home. I just took it all in and helped where I could.

Freedom of Speech class ended with a really great discussion of where we’d started, how far we’d come and what Dr. Kirk hoped we’d do with all we’d learned. It was empowering and thought provoking and made me glad I’d taken this class even though I’d been thrown in the deep end with little preparation for what I’d signed up for. Journalism ended with final presentations which were excellent and then a few words from Tony Pederson about how much he enjoys teaching this class. And then, it was over.

My celebration of the moment was to have lunch with Sean Griffin, the Chair of the Film Division and one of the teachers in London I’d have loved to have had the opportunity to learn from. We’d been planning on getting together for about 6 months and finally had the chance. It was a nice way to end classes. We ate in a little restaurant on Baker Street so I got some local neighborhood flavor and enjoyed trading stories about our London experiences. He also offered me some great advice for a friend who had made a wonderful movie and was having a rough time getting it distributed. The only “down side” was that I had trouble hearing, some kind of crazy symptom from the week of little sleep and perhaps allergies. If I held my head just so and read lips I could feel a little like I was communicating but otherwise it was like being in a tunnel.

After lunch I went back to Regents, grabbed a few things and headed to Victoria Station to pick up a ticket for Billy Elliot. I needed to see it “for real” before I left London and the first try hadn’t gone too well as I missed most of the first act. After the box office at Victoria I went to Covent Garden, perhaps my favorite place in London, to just hang out. First I thought about a glass of wine in a cafe, but I was too tired and was afraid it would only make me more tired. Then I shopped in the stores for a while looking for clothes for Bethany, window shopping and enjoying the atmosphere. Finally, I realized I was just too tired to enjoy the experience and went back to Regents College. I had slept about 10 hours in total since Sunday and now that the stress was over, the exhaustion had set in. It was a bummer not to be able to enjoy the stress-free freedom, but I felt like I was wandering in circles.

Regents was completely empty. Turns out there was a Mumford concert at Hyde Park and most of our group was there. I bet it would have been fun, but as I didn’t follow that band and imagined hundreds, perhaps thousands of people there, I decided to pass. I hung out for awhile checking in on email and work and then William got some time off and we headed out to explore the gardens.

I had spent 5 weeks at Regents College and despite my best intentions I had never truly gotten to see and appreciate Regents Park. We walked through the Rose Gardens, which were beautiful, saw giant Coy in the ponds, then we explored the secret garden which is the backyard for the Sultan’s mansion who is somehow related to the Queen. She allowed him to lease the mansion and the land but not the secret garden. Few people know about it as it looks like private property, but it is truly beautiful.

After a little ice cream, we walked the circle around the inside of the park and I saw the outdoor amphitheatre and some memorials and statues. It was truly lovely and just what I needed after being inside for so long. The day was glorious, sunny and beautiful.

When I got back to Regents I ran in Devin, perhaps the only other student not at Hyde Park. She’d had plans with family that fell through so I invited her to Billy Elliott.

Billy Elliott was much better this time. By the second half I’d scored us 5th row center orchestra (which they call “the stalls”) seats. We had a great time.

It was a nice way to celebrate the last day of classes. Good company. Good show. Great day.

2 Responses to “Last Day of Classes”

  1. Carolyn Barta says:

    Glad you got to experience Regents Park and finally Billy Elliot for real. Two wonderful experiences!

  2. Carolyn Barta says:

    Lee: What a great job of blogging. You made me feel as if I were there. And you captured the difficulty of having to spend time on assignments, going to classes etc. with also trying to see the sights and making the most of the experience. It may seem less painful and more enjoyable as time goes on…