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College Calendar

WITH THE end of term in sight, I”m buckling down and pretending to do some serious work so that I don”t have to do any over Christmas.

I”ve also got a few end-of-term tests coming up and an essay due in about fish gills.

It”s not all deep-sea learning, though, thank goodness. For the past fortnight we”ve had soil practicals – testing for texture, organic matter, pH and next week the amount of P and K present. I really enjoy these lectures and they definitely make up for having to learn about jellyfish.

I want to test the soil at home to prove it”s better than my boyfriend Dave”s, so I reckon I”ll have to get a mini kit for myself.

I met Dave”s neighbours recently at a birthday party for Justin, the farm worker, and his baby girl. They had a live band and a homegrown organic pig on a spit roast (which I suspect was hung on a bale spike); it tasted really good. I don”t think I”ve ever eaten organic pork before and I was pleasantly surprised.

The rugby girls also had a party this month, to celebrate their fantastic win over Southampton; it was a toga party! We donned our bed sheets and strutted our stuff with bits of tree in our hair and flip-flops in the middle of November – brrr! So, looking back I haven”t really done too much work, but I”m going to start tomorrow. Honest.

The term ends on Dec 17 and I”m hoping to get a week”s work back at Hilton Herbs where I worked in the summer so that I can afford to go back to college again next year.

I”m surprised how fast my money is going, they really meant it when they said I”d come out with a huge debt. But the plan is to save hard over the summer – and earn in the holidays so I can half support myself.

I”ve got some work lined up at home on the farm as well over the Christmas holidays which is just what I need, to get out of the city and get my hands dirty for a change.

College Calendar

HOW THE last week of term has changed since I was a kid.

We used to have a “toy day” when I was at infant and junior school. I quite fancied doing the same again this year to be honest (I had the Scalextric and the Fisher Price garage all ready for action) – but no such luck. Instead, we have a business exam about capital taxation.

So, rather than looking forward to seeing Father Christmas and eating endless turkey-based meals, we”ll be racking our brains trying to remember whether or not capital gains tax covers Christmas presents.

One thing we are having at college next week is a “Christmas Showcase”, and preparations are going well. If anybody can do anything mildly entertaining then they are in it, and er, that”s about it really.

One lecturer who can normally be seen looking through surveying equipment, turned up with guitar and amp; and there”s a team of lecturers led by a bow tie-wearing scientist planning a Spice Girls tribute. Add to that a bluesy singing animal manager, an organ playing horticulturalist and a possible trumpet rendition of the Last of the Summer Wine theme tune – it”s plain to see it will be the usual quality entertainment at the bar on that night.

The round of 21st parties has started again for another year. Jono down the corridor has got a big tent booked to go on the side of his house the night after the Christmas Dance – a heavy boozing weekend for us all no doubt. I”m busy organising my 21st, too, so at home we”ve been looking through the old photographs for ones that are embarrassing enough to appear on invites. Of course, we found plenty – and judging by the little fellah on the final choice, brightly coloured stripy jumpers and stupid hair were all the rage back in 1987.

The college has bought 150 store lambs so we may be busy “bellying and crutching” soon. Visits to British Sugar and a talk from an employee of Yorkshire Water all proved useful for my personal project, something which is constantly ongoing.

Anyway, cheers everyone and Happy Christmas. Let”s hope that socks and hankies with your initial on have been banned as potential gifts this year.

COLLEGE CALENDAR

9 August 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Charlie King will begin

the second year of his

HND in Agriculture at

Bicton College in Devon

this autumn

I RECENTLY received a Welcome to Bicton College pack through the post.

I remember reading it last year with great interest, wondering what was in store for me there. This year, I know what to expect and the feeling of anxiety isnt there, allowing me to just look forward to going back.

There are, of course, still the small issues of where exactly Im going to live and whether or not Tonys going to help me pay the bills – as Ive yet to hear any progress from my bids for on-campus accommodation and a student loan.

At least my summer job offers a means of earning some money, though the under-ripeness of the oilseed rape is currently hindering progress and earning potential. All three combines have been running however, proving that when harvest gets into full swing, as I fear it will shortly, life for those of us chasing them with tractors and trailers will be busy.

Right now, though, Ive got another pressing concern. Its less than a week, as I write, until our band will be playing a gig for my bosss daughters 21st birthday party, complete with marquee and plenty of guests. But our drummer cant play. Its a bit like a bad dream – except it isnt, its reality! A replacement has been drafted in and we hope to practise with him twice before the event. Ive mentioned before that we operate better under pressure – but this is a bit extreme!

Im still unsure quite as to where Ill be heading next year when, all being well, I leave Bicton with a HND in Agriculture. Im currently looking at journalism – probably in agriculture – though I might still be tempted to do the extra year at Seale Hayne and get a degree first. If nothing else, its an extra year to decide.

Perseverance paid dividends on the girlfriend front (or lack of one) and the romance has been rekindled. I can see that much of the time we spend together this summer may be in a tractor seat, Im just not sure if she knows and is prepared for this yet.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

9 August 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Kate Oleszko has just

graduated from a

four-year Agriculture with

Animal Science degree

course at Harper Adams

in Shropshire

ITS really quiet back at home now that everything has settled down after finishing college. Even my annual summer holiday has passed – a week at the Royal Welsh helping show cattle (and propping up the Stockmans Bar, of course).

It was great to be back at the event after the dreaded foot-and-mouth last year. It was also nice to see that the paperwork and stringent disinfection rules didnt put too many competitors off.

I was helping the people I worked for on my placement – the Tudors, of Coppy Farm, Denbigh – and Tuesday was the big show day for the commercial beef cattle. The heifer we were showing was in the first class of the day (the baby beef class at 8.30am), with our bullock appearing a few classes later.

We were up at 5am to muck out, feed, wash the cattle and get them dried, brushed up, their tails groomed and styled, hooves cleaned and sprayed and all the other jobs on time.

The heat coming off the blowers as the cattle were being brushed and dried, along with the smell of shampoo and hair care products, reminded me of being at the hairdressers.

Typically, just as judging began, so did the rain. And it poured. We all stood around the edge of the ring with big umbrellas, hoping it would only be a shower and would soon pass. We ended up getting third with the heifer, so it ended up a wet but successful morning.

After watching the championship, we all headed to the Stockmans Bar – and then the NSA bar – to celebrate. I caught up with friends I hadnt seen since before I went to New Zealand last summer as well as some pals from college.

Meanwhile on the job front, Ive havent made a lot of progress this month. Ive started looking for a milking/farming job for the time being, but even they seem very hard to come by locally with milk prices as poor as they are at the moment.

Im also considering carrying on with my education and studying for a Masters qualification in a dairy-related subject or even working back in New Zealand. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

19 July 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Kate Oleszko is a 21-

year-old fourth year

degree student on an

Agriculture with Animal

Science course at Harper

Adams in Shropshire

ITS all over! I have finally finished my four years at Harper.

Results day really tested my nerves for one last time. I have never known a day drag so much, with minutes feeling like hours as we packed up our stuff ready to move out. Boxes everywhere! I never realised I had so much stuff until I tried to pack in all into my poor little car.

Not even the McDonalds Id had for lunch settled my stomach as 4.30pm drew near. It was a really weird feeling as there was absolutely nothing I could do about the outcome anymore. My four years of hard work all in one – one mark up on the board. And yes, it was worth every bit of pain as I frantically searched for my name and result. A 2:1 honours degree!

Celebration was definitely called for but, as promised, I phoned home to tell them the good news. Drinks and a BBQ was provided for us all as we sat outside the bar chatting away to lecturers and friends about our achievements and futures. A big well done to everyone.

Celebrations led us back to Newport to Ozzies for our last drink together for the summer – until graduation, the Freshers Ball and all those other reasons weve got to come back. Roll on the start of next term!

Packing up and leaving our house in Newport seemed quite sad, but I will never forget these last four years, and lets hope that the next four are even better.

As for now, job hunting has taken priority. Friday being the most important day of the week as the careers bulletin comes out from college, along with the farming press with their job sections.

Searching for jobs is not an easy task, especially as there are very few out there in agriculture at the moment, and especially in the line of work I fancy… journalism, dairy advisory, nutrition, genetics, breeding, appeals but there seem very few vacancies in any of these fields.

The right job will hopefully come up for us all sooner or later, but until then happy job hunting!

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

14 June 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Charlie King is a 19-year-

old first year, studying an

HND in Agriculture at

Bicton College in Devon

BY the time you read this, Ill have finished my first year at college. My advice to anyone who may be apprehensive about going is… Dont be.

I was in exactly the same position last year and, when June arrived, I still hadnt even decided which course I wanted to study and where.

If you throw yourself into activities early on, the rest seems to take care of itself, apart from the assignments of course!

The first year has passed so quickly and its surprising how much Ive learnt. It seems to have trained my mind to question practices and opened it to consider the alternatives.

The ridiculously high on-campus accommodation prices for next year mean I am considering driving daily, which will constitute a round-trip of 100 miles.

The fact that I work at home at weekends and that the HND is condensed into a four-day week makes on-site accommodation a luxury difficult to justify.

Apparently there will be two more students joining us on the second year in September to top up from a National Diploma after a year in the industry. This will take our course number up to the dizzy heights of seven!

I had a visit to the Grassland 2002 event – and decided it was a bit of a contractors day out. The horsepower of much of the gear on show exceeded the combined total of the machinery we operate at home.

The emphasis was clearly on grass conservation, with not a cow or sheep in sight. Nevertheless it was a worthwhile visit and one I would recommend to those with an interest. I use the word "interest" because the lack of a beer tent meant you had to have an element of interest to justify a visit.

I am now qualified to spray, having undergone training and passed PA1 theory and PA2 operation tests. My only mild concern is that the 8m boom width of the sprayer I used in the test is only a third the size of the 24m self-propelled Bateman I should be using in the summer with KAM contract farming.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

10 May 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Kate Oleszko is a 21-

year-old fourth year

degree student on an

Agriculture with Animal

Science course at Harper

Adams in Shropshire

EASTER holiday came and went and still we were typing away on our Investigational Projects.

It seemed to be a never-ending task until 5pm on May 1 came, when we could do no more.

I had hoped the reams of paper across my bedroom floor would miraculously disappear when 5pm came, but still I had draft copies, journals and rough work everywhere – one huge clean-up mission lay ahead.

A huge weight felt like it had been lifted off my shoulders when I handed the work in. At the same time, I felt a great achievement because finishing my IP was always a day I had dreamed of. No more very late nights… Well, until the next deadline.

Celebration was definitely called for and that we did. I cant remember the last night we all had out together because there is normally someone missing due to more pressing things.

It all started at before 4pm as we sat in the garden having our first celebratory drink and, as always, one led to another.

We had all these plans for a BBQ, but it didnt happen. Just as well, probably, because I fear we may have been charged with "drunk and in charge of a BBQ and endangering surrounding houses!"

It certainly was a night to remember or should I say one I wish I did remember, as we visited pubs in Newport and then went to the student union bar. The bar was full of final year students, all celebrating in style. If anyone recalls seeing me that night, please fill me in.

The following morning was not so good. It wasnt until then that I remembered that a good night is generally followed by a stinking headache. Nothing, however, that a few pints of water, orange juice and a couple of packet of crisps doesnt normally sort out.

And that reminds me, the summer ball is on June 21.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

12 April 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Charlie King is a 19-year-

old first year, studying an

HND in Agriculture at

Bicton College in Devon

ITS been such a busy month its a job to know where to start. I suppose the best way is to acknowledge the sunny weather and boldly announce the welcome arrival of spring! (I make my apologies now for the violent storms, torrential rain and severe floods that are likely to follow).

This, of course, means an end to what seemed to be a particularly long winter this year. At home, the cows are out to grass – by day at least – although unfortunately this is not really lightening the workload, but rather shifting it to fieldwork in preparation for maize drilling.

The scraper tractor and its gearbox have still yet to part company, although Im sure its only a matter of time now. If it holds on much longer, the clutch will need replacing from all the third gear scraping antics.

The run-up to the Easter break at college saw the frantic rush to finish assignments on time. The best method, I decided, was to complete them in order of hand-in date, albeit with only one or two days between the four assignments in question.

It seems to have been a popular pastime throughout this year for students from many courses to "borrow" a tractor or two from the machinery yard, for what can only be assumed to be "extra curricular" activities at night.

It has become so common place that singling out a particular occurrence seemed tricky – until recently, that is, when the Police decided that in fact "borrowing" was more like "attempted theft". Two students found this out after a night in a cell and a police caution. I wonder if this will curtail similar activities in the future?

Our band Tweka made £160 at Dorchester Young Farmers auction of promises, which donated £1000 to Dorset Air Ambulance. We also played our first gig in nearly six months to help raise over £1000 for Headway, a charity for people with head injuries. The performance was shorter than expected, due to the main transformer burning out in my brothers bass amplifier, rendering it particularly useless. However, it seemed to be a success and consequently future gigs are lining up nicely.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

8 March 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Charlie King is a 19-year-

old first-year, studying an

HND in Agriculture at

Bicton College in Devon

THE gap between semesters one and two offered a short and welcome break from assignments. However, as expected, this was short-lived because new assignments were readily handed out shortly after settling into new modules and meeting new lecturers. If only they could be completed as rapidly.

As promised, the production-based modules have involved more outdoor work and less confinement to the classroom. On some days overalls have even been worn for both morning and afternoon lectures.

In theory, half-term would have allowed inroads to be made into some of those new assignments. In practice, there was farm work to be done and while the weather permitted it to be completed, it was.

The need to apply fertiliser and roll the silage fields must have been seen as vital because father even went to the extreme of hiring me a tractor for a few days.

Typically, as investment is made in one piece of machinery (you may remember the JCB telehandler), others, it would seem, take offence. So I suppose it should have come as no surprise when the scraper tractor decided it doesnt like second gear any more. First gear, of course, is too slow and third is too fast.

As I trundle around the yard, refusing to acknowledge the gargling gearbox, I cant help but wonder about the state of the industry I am training to be a part of. The relentless rain driving into the door-less cab doesnt help my optimism.

Im always harping on about a nine-to-five job, but arent those practical farming roots just too strong to break? After all, who can deny that fetching cows in for milking at 5.30am on a blue-skied June morning isnt one of the best feelings in the world?

For now, at least, I can enjoy being a student – Im watching the rugby team play Duchy College again this afternoon.

While this may be tempting fate a little, this must be the fourth or fifth time now and we havent lost yet. My Wednesday afternoons are being spent spectating now, after my hip injury at the start of the season. What a life…

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

8 March 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Kate Oleszko is a 21-

year-old fourth year

degree student on an

Agriculture with Animal

Science course at Harper

Adams in Shropshire

THE big move of housemates seemed to go smoothly. As fast as Colin and Sarah piled boxes and boxes of stuff into their cars, Dave and Emma were bringing boxes in.

Dave brought a massive, wide-screen surround-sound TV with him and it fits perfectly in our lounge. We are very grateful Dave!

They both seem to be settling down ok in our mad house. Sarah has gone to a great room in halls where she can see the rugby pitch from her bedroom window. Im sure we will both spend many a Wednesday afternoon watching the backsides on the pitch!

Valentines Day seemed just another normal day until a mysterious parcel arrived containing a card and a toy dog with a red rose in his mouth. The postmark was Nottingham. I didnt think I knew anyone from Nottingham – especially not that well. So whoever you are, are you going to let me know or do I have to work it out?

Meanwhile, we have all had to prepare poster presentations of our Investigational Projects. It had to show a summary of what we have done so far including results and expected conclusions. This proved harder than I first expected – there is only so much you can fit onto an A1 sheet.

Ive been lucky enough to be part of a Welsh TV programme about Harper Adams which was shown on S4C. It was an insight into Harper and looked at final year students work. There was also a group discussion of where us students see agriculture going over the next few years and what we hope to do in the future? Will smaller farms be taken over or their owners have to run the business alongside another job? Theyre questions that will have a real impact on our future.

It made me think about my future more carefully. I have always wanted to be in agriculture, but the question now is will it be a life-long career? I would like to think so but, there again, just over a year ago I would have said that foot-and-mouth was a problem of the past.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

11 January 2002

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Charlie King is a

19-year-old first-year,

studying an HND in

Agriculture at Bicton

College in Devon

When I arrived back at home from college for the Christmas break (wishful thinking!), I was surprised to find that the rusty old post-basher had been removed from the patch of nettles into which it had been purposefully dumped many years ago.

Following the welding on of a telehandler bracket, it was also receiving grease and a lick of JCB-yellow paint. This, together with the piles of posts, wire, staples, struts and strainers that sat in the shed could only mean one thing: a fencing mission.

I dont know whether it was the fumes from that paint – or just the colour – that helped make the decision, but the next week a new JCB arrived. Whichever it was, there are no complaints from my direction and the new machine and recycled post-basher have been put to good use.

Most of my and brother Toms time has been spent removing and replacing old fence posts and rusty barbed wire – cutting hands through worn fencing gloves in the process and fighting over the reason we cant afford new ones: the JCB.

We have, however, found time in the evening to get our band Tweka up and running again as bad light means there is only so much work that can be done in a day.

There was also my 19th birthday and the Christmas and New Year social calendar ensuring there were many good nights out and inevitably the slow, unproductive mornings that hangovers bring. At least at college, I dont have to get up at 5.30am.

As well as the farm work and social activities there are, of course, the ongoing college assignments on parasites and crop diets that also require time and energy.

It is hard to believe that in one term I have taken on board so much information. So far the course has been largely science based, but at the end of January the second semester makes way for modules on production. Hopefully this will stem the comments from the National Diploma and National Certificate students about the cleanness of overalls and wellies belonging to us "desk farmers".

Kate Oleszko is a 21-year-old fourth year degree student on an Agriculture

with Animal Science course at Harper Adams in Shropshire

Christmas spirit, hype, excitement and looking forward to a long-awaited break brought the long autumn term at college to a close. It was the longest stretch without a break. Eleven weeks; thats 77 days of hard work.

Cold crisp days with the sun shining remind me what a beautiful time of year winter is – well, until you go out in the mornings and your car is thickly frosted over.

But Christmas is my favourite time of year. With the shops full of festive gifts, it gave me a reason to go on a mega shopping spree!

The end-of-term ball saw mistletoe causing chaos as kisses were generously given out to all! Tinsel and glitter sparkled and everyone merrily danced the night away. It was a ball to remember – the last of 2001 and my last Christmas Ball while Im here at Harper.

Harpers carol service at the church in Edgmond reminded us of the true meaning of the season. We sang along to all the carols, and, as always, when the organist started playing "While shepherds watched their flocks by night…" I started to sing the "other" version… "While shepherds wash their socks by night all seated round the tub, a bar of soap came floating down and they began to scrub…"

The last day of term for 2001 came and went and everyone packed up and headed home for the holiday. Sherry and mince pies and a chunk of pre-Christmas cake awaited some. For others it was a pint down their local. I was keeping my fingers crossed for snow so I could go out sledging down the fields back at home then come back inside and get warm by the fire before dinner.

My wish for snow was, in fact, granted this year, albeit it a few days late.

Happy New Year to you all, and lets hope that 2002 will be a successful year for all of us.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

14 December 2001

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Kate Oleszko is a 21-

year-old fourth year

degree student on an

Agriculture with Animal

Science course at Harper

Adams in Shropshire

TIME management is what fourth year life is really about. Teaching you how to stay up late, night after night, stressing about finishing assignments and preparing presentations. Oh, and for those spare few moments in the day theres your IP (investigational project) to do.

My IP is a trial into the effects of feeding whole-crop wheat on dairy cow performance and blood metabolite concentrations. Only 168 days left to write it now.

It will all be worth it in the end when graduation day arrives; on many occasions Ive sat and wondered what we will all look like wearing those funny-looking hats and Batman capes.

Early mornings and late nights milk sampling, feeding and pushing cows through out-of-parlour feeders form a regular part of my week. Its always when you are really into your assignment that you realise the time and end up back on the farm again, checking that cows have eaten their daily concentrate allowance and that their transponder collars all work.

And, as always, there are the troublesome cows that havent eaten all their concentrates, so then they have to be pushed through. Some evenings, this can be a major task if over 20 out of the 44 trial cows havent finished because only three cows can eat at one time!

Ive spent so many hours with these trial cows sitting in their cubicles waiting for them to finish eating so I can push some more through, Im sure some wait for me each time just for fun.

My social life has become very limited. Its worked around the cows (and, of course, when I can finally get rid of that oh-so-lovely cow smell which my housemates love so much) and assignments. I hope, however, I can always make time for a pint on a Wednesday night to catch up on the gossip and to see all my friends.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

14 December 2001

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Charlie King is an 18-year-

old first-year, studying an

HND in Agriculture at

Bicton College in Devon

TIME seems to have flown by since Freshers Week. Its been a challenge to strike a balance between college assignments, farm work and seeing my girlfriend at Southampton University. The assignments seem to be a never-ending affair – as soon as one is handed in, several more are dished out. As for farming, there is always something to be done.

Fewer people are getting involved in agriculture. There are only five students on the HND here. This may not be such a bad thing from our point of view, in that those of us skilled in the industry should be in greater demand – in theory at least.

Ive been at college for less than a term and already Im finding my aspirations are changing. When I started, I was aiming to complete the HND then go home to take on the family dairy farm with my elder brother. Now, I am moving towards doing a degree top-up and perhaps a job in consultancy. A 9-5 job seems more attractive than a 5-9!

Im still very interested in dairy cows and the current study of diets and nutrition in animal science is most relevant to this. How relevant college work seems compared with A-levels! There is nothing more motivating than studying something you are interested in and which is relevant to your career.

The Finance and Economic Management Module we are studying is also particularly useful when you are a student for obvious reasons. There have, however, been a few weary faces in this Thursday morning lecture – perhaps because Wednesday night happens to be when everyone goes out.

Wednesday is also sports afternoon, although a hip injury picked up playing rugby for Young Farmers recently means my college rugby career has turned out to be rather short lived. Perhaps my Wednesday afternoons will be spent doing college work from now on? Dont bank on it – but Ill keep you posted.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

16 November 2001

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Thanks to all the students who entered the College Calendar competition. Writing about your first week at college was obviously a task you relished. Or maybe the chance of winning some cash was just too good an opportunity to miss! Either way, we were inundated with entries. Weve loved reading them. Some of them made us wish we were students again; some of them made us glad we werent! Weve chosen two winners – they get the chance to write a monthly column for farmers weekly chronicling the highs and lows of student life. Here is a brief introduction to our two new columnists and their accounts of their first week of term this year.

Kate Oleszko is a 21-year-old fourth year degree

student on an agriculture with animal science course

at Harper Adams in Shropshire. Kate hopes to work in

the dairy industry after graduating, ideally in the

breeding, nutrition or advisory sector. Her interests

include travelling, canoeing and horse riding

SEEING the freshers arrive at Harper reminded me of my first day, but this time I was seeing it through the eyes of a fourth year. The year where youre supposed to know better, supposed to spend your entire life within the grimy four walls of the library, supposed to know how to this and how to that!

I feel no older than a first year, but somehow the last three years have flown by. The reality of "this time next year youll be standing on your own two feet" getting nearer and then theres the worry of a career. Seeing UK agriculture in this depressed state, I wonder will there be a job out there for me?

But come dusk, all my worrying thoughts are wiped away as I push open the double doors into the bar and see all those familiar, friendly faces, which I left so many miles behind this summer. Smiles, hugs and summer stories fly around – the atmosphere is just electric, nothing in the world ever compares to this feeling and I have never felt it anywhere else but here, at Harper.

The new faces of freshers, nervously buying drinks at the bar yet again brings back those fond first day memories. The beginning of the best few years of my life. The Freshers Challenge, with the masses of mashed potato and molasses, the waves of petrified people cross the rugby pitch unaware of the challenges lying ahead. Memories which will haunt some, yet be the start of many good lifelong friendships and stories which, Im sure, will be re-told again and again at parties, stag dos, hen nights and, of course, on the big day in front of all the in-laws.

Tuxedos, long sleek dresses, high heels and the whiff of expensive aftershave bring us to the close of this mad week and to the Freshers Ball. The bucking bronco challenges the drunkards among us and provides the not-so-brave with hilarious entertainment. This is just the start of yet another unforgettable year.

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COLLEGE CALENDAR

16 November 2001

COLLEGE CALENDAR

Thanks to all the students who entered the College Calendar competition. Writing about your first week at college was obviously a task you relished. Or maybe the chance of winning some cash was just too good an opportunity to miss! Either way, we were inundated with entries. Weve loved reading them. Some of them made us wish we were students again; some of them made us glad we werent! Weve chosen two winners – they get the chance to write a monthly column for farmers weekly chronicling the highs and lows of student life. Here is a brief introduction to our two new columnists and their accounts of their first week of term this year.

Charlie King is an 18-year-old first-year, studying an

HND in agriculture at Bicton College in Devon. When

he finishes the three-year course, he plans to return

to the family farm in Dorset. His interests include

playing electric guitar in a band formed through the

Dorchester Young Farmers Club

NERVOUSNESS, anxiety and excitement. These were my feelings as I headed to Bicton for my first week.

On arrival I was greeted with a smile, a student handbook and the bombardment of information that is induction. All questions asked and answered and relevant (and irrelevant) forms signed and sorted, I headed off to my campus accommodation.

As friends had yet to be made, it was uncertainty that accompanied me to the bar on the first evening for karaoke night. I ordered my first pint and stood alone at the bar nervously sipping at my beverage. As I looked around at all the strange faces – no doubt from a whole range of places – I could not help but question my being there. HND in agriculture? Surely I had not thought this through!

I then realised an inadequate amount of beer had been consumed for immediate confidence and conversation. Nevertheless, I decided we were all in the same boat and found the courage and a face I recognised from induction and proceeded to introduce myself. It was actually easier than I expected.

Chat easily followed, as did beer consumption. Four pints later I began to find the Dutch courage that had eluded me earlier and so it was with only mild concern that I agreed to consider the karaoke menu. Two pints later we were called up to do the business. Should I Stay or Should I Go was then delivered in questionable quality.

From here, the night progressed into what proved to be a successful evening. Friends were made in the form of Herbie and Tanya and I began to get a feel for the place that was to be my home. Throughout the week, similar nights and activity – both in the bar and around the campus – ensured I was to settle in with success.

Before I knew it, the weekend arrived and I confess it was with some reluctance that I returned home to milk and feed the 100 dairy cows that awaited me.

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