It felt very strange to be crossing the bridge this morning on the same bus I used to catch in first year but going in the opposite direction. It was even stranger to be forced into a detour through Strathkinness, a place so small that when I asked a bus driver for a ticket there in first year, he looked at me and said ‘Are you sure?!’ As odd as it was it was the perfect journey to reflect on everything I’ve experienced since coming to Dundee; the first few months living in the gatehouse of an actual medieval castle in Leuchars, crossing the Tay every day, adjusting from distance study at the Open University to studying alongside other students, most ten years younger than myself and not that long out of school, getting back into roleplaying, being a committee member, helping to set up exhibitions, group work, and most important of all, having the opportunity to work on projects which are grounded in user research and to create solutions in both physical and digital media. DJCAD has been a wonderful place to be and I’ll be sad to leave.
However, my intended next step is further study, and barely half an hour away is St Andrews. I attended the open day today to speak to lecturers from computing about their Human Computer Interaction MSc. I was shown the computing labs, including the dedicated HCI lab, and learned of some of the history and traditions of the university. I also visited St Salvator’s, which is a little like a country hotel, but featuring a dining room reminiscent of Hogwarts, and the more humble but older postgraduate residence, Deans Court. This was not on the official tour, but I decided to poke around anyway. Having wandered through the gardens I approached the main door expecting it to be locked, but just as I climbed the stairs a man came out, said hello, and held the door open for me. So I went exploring all the communal areas I could until I met a warden, to whom I admitted I probably shouldn’t be there. Though she laughed and agreed I shouldn’t be, she also offered to show me the vaulted dining hall. This reminded me of the dining room in The Lies of Locke Lamora, deep beneath a temple – and indeed, Deans Court was most likely associated with the now ruined cathedral just across the street. I was told that local lore holds there are secret passageways between Deans Court and the cathedral, but no evidence of them has ever been found.