There is no such thing at Elsewhere University as taking a casual interest in the Good Neighbours. Those who take an interest in the Gentry tend to find they take an interest in return, and none more so than those unfortunate, unlucky souls who pursue the Forbidden Major. No one should take that course without good reason, and luckily the RA’s have a cautionary tale to illustrate the fact. A story of a girl who went looking without good reason, who signed up without knowing, and who paid the price for it.
Her chosen name was Sigourney, and she was in a mess. Between a hectic schedule, too little sleep, and the mental and social fall-out of an unfortunate falling-out (thank you, Hiram), her coursework had fallen through the cracks and nothing short of a miracle could save her now. She calculated and re-calculated her percentages, made educated guesses about how lenient her markers could be, but no matter how much she cajoled and nudged her marks until 46.8% looked like 48.9%, she could tell she was doomed without immediate action.
Her exams only counted for a small part of her degree, so it wasn’t like she could hope to pull her grades up at the last minute. Asking favours from the Philosophy department was a no-go after the palaver she had put them through getting her last essay remarked, and her Literature professor had stated in no uncertain terms that any more begging would earn her a citation against her academic record.
“Just retake the year,” replied Nouvelle, a rotund third-year, and the only friend Sig had left after the Hiram débâcle.
“Can’t. My finance expires next year whether I graduate or not, and there’s no way I’m getting signed off on another year. Not after this disaster,” said Sig, slouched on her bed after another day unsuccessfully trying to revive her academic career.
“Choose new courses for spring term? Stuff you know you can do, or exam heavy stuff.”
“The deadline’s passed,” she said. “Plus, Timetabling wants my head for non-attendance.”
Nouvelle grimaced, tracing circles in the spill of salt near the door. “You know, if you’re desperate, you could always take a course in the Forbidden Major.”
Sig rolled her eyes. “Oh, I hear it’s really coursework heavy, plus the teaching isn’t great, and, oh yeah, the forbidden major is a campus fairy tale, Nouvelle. You think I should leave milk and cream on my windowsill next to a pile of unfinished essay questions too?”
Nouvelle snorted. “There’s worse ideas. I’m just saying, it’s an option.”
“Oh, so it’s an option, right?” said Sig, leaning up in bed, grinning. “So, hypothetically, if I really was desperate enough to take a non-existent course, which professor would I need to talk to?”
Nouvelle sighed and smiled. “Okay, I can only tell you what a postgrad told me. He told me he’d never done the Forbidden Major, but he’d heard from a kid who was a third year when he was a fresher, whose friend-”
“Come on, come on,” Sig said. “I don’t need the family history.”
“Well alright,” said Nouvelle, leaning back against the wall. “He told me, on the first night of Winter you take a cup of wassail and an iron poker, hold it under the horse skull that hangs over the south entrance to the Students Union, and you say these words; ‘Here I come, here I come, to beg your leave, to beg your leave, Mari Llwyd, Mari Llwyd’, and then you ask the skull if you can join the course.”
“What, and you get an email the next day from Timetabling saying if it’s been approved or not?”
“Signed with blood, no less,” said Nouvelle.
“You are full of it,” said Sig, sighing and lying back. “This Uni is full of it. What even is Wassail?”
“Booze, I think,” said Nouvelle, glancing out of the window. “And I take your point. My first choice was Mercer.”
They dropped the topic, and spent the rest of the night discussing what a dick Hiram had been. Sig didn’t give the idea of the Forbidden Major much thought until a few weeks later. She had stuck around on campus after term ended, unwilling to go home to parents who had expected better of her, and prayed day and night that she could avoid the conversation over Christmas dinner about her grades, or what the hell she intended to do next year.
In this state of mind, she had decided to forget her troubles on a trip to the Students Union bar on the 21st of December. To her surprise, it was stuffed to the gills with students. They lounged around the tables, laughing and smiling with perfect teeth and flashing eyes, dressed for the beach despite the thin snow falling outside. Sig felt like an outcast among the sheer amount of West-Coast style on show, and for their part, they gave her a wide berth, dressed as she was in a three day old shirt and one-week old jeans.
Unable to face the hubbub inside, she took her drink and slipped out the south door and stood in the cold, arms wrapped tight around herself under the horse skull. Remembering Nouvelle’s words, she reached into her pocket and took a tiny iron nail in her fist. It wasn’t much of a poker and her rum and coke made a pretty poor wassail, but then again, she wasn’t much of a student.
With her glass in one hand and nail in the other (and making very sure no one was watching), she spoke to the skull.
“Here I come, here I come, to beg your leave, to beg your leave, Mari Llwyd, Mari Llwyd,” she muttered. “Please? I need another course to bring my grade up. I’m desperate.”
“TRUST ME,” said the skull, it’s teeth clacking together, snow slipping from its jaws. “YOU ARE NOT DESPERATE ENOUGH.”
Reason not to kill yourself, grieve or worry: Allah is with you.
“Don’t fear, I am with you” [Qur'an 20:46]
“He is with you wherever you are” [Qur'an 57:4]
“But Allah is your protector and He is the best of helpers” [Qur'an 3:150]
“And do not despair in the Mercy of Allah” [Qur'an 12:87]
“Allah will love you and forgive you your sins” [Qur'an 3:31]
“Indeed what is to come will be better for you than what has gone by” [Qur'an 93:4]
“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you” [Qur'an 3:160]
“Your Lord has not forsaken you, nor does He hate you” [Qur'an 93:3]
“So trust Allah; surely you are on the clear path” [Qur'an 27:79]
“Do not grieve, Allah is with us" [Qur'an 9:40]
If you could only pick one of these to play during the whole week which would you pick? ;)
By the way that is a gorgeous bass flute by Trevor James Flutes!! I have some videos with it coming up that I really hope you guys will like !