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From Glastonbury to Guadalajara

July 3, 2011

So, now that uni is done and dusted, I’m moving back to Mexico to work for the Guadalajara Reporter. That’s right, a proper job. Who’d have thought it?

Not me. I only heard about the opening about a fortnight ago and it still hasn’t really sunk in yet.

Its been a pretty hectic week or so, with me swanning about from one eleven-lettered destination beginning with G to another. In between there was the small matter of picking up my university results and saying goodbye to all of my friends and family.

The dust is only just beginning to settle on four years of university life. Warwick is a strange bubble of a place, where I’ve had a great time and made some awesome friends. But I’ll definitely miss the people more than the place. The West Midlands is not the most exciting corner of Britain, the union was a shambles, and I can’t say I’m a fan of the university’s eagerness to privatise higher education, nor its role as a primary advocate of the insane new £9,000 tuition fees. Personally I reckon the £26,000 I currently owe is quite enough already thanks.

I did love my course though. Good old Comparative American Studies (CAS), a renegade department leading a heroic last stand against the bureaucratic, business orientated university that Warwick has become.

If Carlsberg branched out into higher education, not only would they dish out an appropriately painful death to Michael Gove, but they’d also come up with a degree like CAS, or “The History, Literature and Culture of the Americas” – as it’s been snappily renamed. Founded in the 70s by a bunch of hippie academics, CAS is Warwick’s top rated course and further education’s best kept secret (half of us didn’t even apply to do it, we just somehow ended up there). It’s also the highest ranked American Studies degree in the UK (which admittedly doesn’t really say much) and consistently receives full marks out of 100 in the Guardian’s university league tables.

More importantly, it includes a mandatory year abroad, in such far-flung hell-holes as New York, California, Mexico, Argentina, or even the Bahamas. Throw into the mix the minimal contact hours and laid-back lecturers who bring tequila to seminars, play Bob Dylan in lectures, spend half their time discussing football, and set essay questions on The Beatles, Vietnam war films & 1960s drug culture – and you have one hell of a degree.

I managed to come out of it with a first, which was nice – although I was neither mentally or physically capable of processing this result, coming as it did last Monday, immediately after five days of madness at the biggest and best festival in the world, ever.*

*This may or may not actually be true, I haven’t looked it up.

Highlights included: the moment it first stopped pissing it down on Wednesday afternoon; the discovery of Sainsburys brand port as the perfect festival drink; the legendarily potent Brothers cider; the surreal, dystopian techno-hippie nightmare that is Shangri-La; the hog roasts and the ostrich burgers; Wu-Tang Clan lambasting UK customs and reaffirming that they Ain’t Nothing to Fuck Wit’; The Coral reminding everyone at the John Peel stage why they’re such an influential and underrated band; Primal Scream gloriously revisiting Screamadelica in the pouring rain; the Chemical Brothers delivering a euphoric, laser-heavy headline performance on the Other Stage; and finally, Queens of the Stone Age wrapping it all up with an uncharacteristically festival friendly set of electrifying desert rock. All experienced alongside my best mates from home and uni. Not a bad little send off.

So what now? I’ll be boarding a plane to Mexico tomorrow. Dangerously lacking in sleep. Overwhelmed, excited, and slightly terrified at the prospect of having an actual proper job.

Time to saca las chelas.

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