To mark the start of the academic year, we are reproducing Welcome Week from Les Back's Academic Diary. If you'd like to submit your own academic diary entry, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a few weeks after graduation the new intake of students arrives for induction or what used to be called 'Freshers' and is now re-titled ‘Welcome Week.’ In London this coincides with cold but sunny mornings that mark the beginning of autumn, although its effect has yet to strip the leaves from the trees. These bright days are cherished because just a few weeks away is the dreary mid term winter when it will be dark at 5pm. For now the 'first years' have the institution to themselves. The college is a maze. They are continually getting lost, finding their way with smiling nervousness through trial and error.
Induction marks the beginning of something significant, even though it is impossible to know exactly what has begun. Eavesdropping on the awkward introductions and the chance meetings is enchanting because we know from our own experience that some of the friendships started here will prove to be life long through good times and dark moments. Others will be broken by an imbalance of give and take or some future conflict that is unimaginable now. It is a time of beginnings and resurrected hopes, as staff and students alike contemplate the curriculum and peel back the fresh pages of a new diary.