If you were to ask me if I’d always wanted to do Law, I’d have to be honest and say no. I didn’t seriously consider studying it until my last year of high school, when I realised it was a sound career path with great prospects. Before that, my aim in life was to be a writer. I’ve always loved diving into my own little world and creating characters but when I was a frightened eighteen year-old staring at my blank UCAS form, I realised that being a writer just wasn’t a viable option. I needed something stable with a steady income and chose Law because I quite liked the sound of being a judge one day. Possibly not the best basis for a career decision but, two years and a lot of hard work later, here I am! The night I sent off my UCAS application, I threw out all my notebooks which were stuffed full of unfinished stories. I decided I didn’t need them anymore and, although it hurt to throw them out, it was necessary. My childish dreams of seeing my books in Waterstone’s were finished; in their place, a new grown-up dream of donning black robes and a white wig. I wouldn’t say I love studying Law but it’s a good career at the end of the day and I know exactly where I’m going with it. Perfect.
I was lucky enough not to live too far away from Cardiff University. It was just a five minute bus ride to the campus on Museum Avenue. I grabbed a coffee from the canteen before heading up to my first class- Contract Law. It was easily one of the worst modules on the course but unfortunately, it was compulsory. I found myself counting the days until the Christmas holidays where I wouldn’t have to worry about contractual obligations or enforceability criteria! I waited outside the room while clusters of students milled past on their way to lectures. I glanced to my left and saw a familiar figure drawing near to me. It was Tom, my Tom. I swooned inwardly as I drank in his wiry frame, bewitching green eyes and spiky brown hair.
“Hey babe,” I said, kissing him on the lips. “You’re not usually in this early.”
“Yeah, some lectures got shifted round so I’m getting finished early.” he replied. He gently yanked my purple woollen scarf, pulled me close and kissed me deeply.
“Not bad for some!” I laughed. “I’ve got a whole hour of Contract Law- exciting stuff.” I rolled my eyes and wrapped my arms round his waist.
“You’ll be fine babe. I’ll see you later yeah?” he said, extracting himself from my embrace and taking a few steps down the corridor.
“Yeah, see you. Oh by the way, I hear you’ve got me a pretty special Christmas present!” I gave him my best c’mon-tell-me-you-know-you-want-to smile, making my eyes wide.
“Oh…yeah, it’s really great! I’m picking it up later today actually. Catch you later.” he replied, looking slightly uneasy. He turned his back on me and made great strides down the corridor until he got through the heavy brown double doors. I stared after him, my brow furrowed in confusion. It wasn’t like Tom to get nervous about anything but as soon as I’d mentioned my present, he’d lost all composure! It must be a risky gift; either that or he’d just told his mum it was “pretty great” to cover his arse as he hadn’t bought anything yet! I was inclined to think the latter; he wasn’t very good at buying gifts and required huge amounts of help.
The lecture crawled to an end an hour later. I pulled on my aubergine coat, tied my scarf around my neck and joined the weary mass of law students piling out of the classroom. Next stop for me was St David’s Centre to finally finish my Christmas shopping. I walked down the corridor and pushed open the large double doors. It was a frosty December morning, and the air was bitterly cold, stinging my cheeks and ruffling my hair. I bundled my coat around me and walked to the bus stop to wait for a bus to the high street. I loved studying in Cardiff- it was such a cool, vibrant city. It had been my home for all of my twenty years and I truly couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I stepped inside the Perspex bus shelter and leaned against the back of it. I felt my loose dark curls fall in a cascade round my shoulders and smoothed down some flyaway wisps with my hand. The buses to the city centre were every ten minutes or so; I wouldn’t have long to wait. The chill in the air sent a shiver down my spine so I slid my hands up my jacket sleeves and looked around myself. A couple of lecturers, both dressed in grey tweed jackets and carrying heavy folders, walked across the campus to their next class. A couple of huddled groups of students moved in the direction of the cafeteria, deep in conversation. I didn’t blame them. I’d kill for some hot food. I decided I’d go for a toastie at Prêt a Manger when I got to town. I looked at them as they shrunk into the distance and smiled to myself. When I’d first started uni, I’d imagined it to be like a giant melting pot where you had loads of friends doing different courses. But within about three weeks of starting, I realised that it was just like high school- birds of a feather stuck together! I heard the familiar low hum of an engine coming towards me and smiled. The glow of dipped orange headlights bounced off the pavement and the bus slowed to a stop in front of me. As soon as I stepped on, a warm rush of air enveloped me and shrugged off the cold from outside.
“City centre please.” I said to the driver. I showed him my weekly bus ticket and chose a seat near the front. The doors snapped shut and it pulled away. I shoved my earphones on and set my iPod to shuffle, before pressing my face against the cool glass of the window and allowing my brain to switch off.