The academic year peters out in the most unsatisfactory way these days. Seminars finished, and exams happened, in May; I got all the marking done weeks ago. This week seemed to be the week of final meetings: exam board, departmental meetings and the last meeting of a reading group I’ve been going to. And yet my contract trickles on… there are still thesis students to supervise… I haven’t written any of the three conference papers I’m giving in July yet.
All of which seems to mean a lot of saying goodbye without ever having a feeling of finality. I was sad when I finished teaching, but hadn’t told my students I wouldn’t be back next year so said goodbye in a vaguely ‘see you around’ style. Then my best friend in Leeds left this week, and I was so preoccupied with that that I almost forgot I was probably seeing some other people for the last time. But then it’s starting to feel hard to keep track of all the Last Times with everyone here – who, after all, I’ve only known for a year. Still I keep hanging on. I’m like that unwanted party guest who lingers on when everyone with more sense and better things to do has already left, and yet all my things are on the bed so the hosts can’t go to sleep.
But there’s a huge conference in mid-July where half the medieval world will descend on Leeds, and I’m hoping that that will feel like the last thing. When I’m dancing at the appalling medieval disco surely I’ll be filled with a sense of culmination – nay, climax – and all this liminal shit will melt away.