Just had a quick chat with my ex-BF (from years and years ago – we were together when I was 19 and he was 15 lmfao, so basically nearly 15 years ago) who I’ve been helping with his PhD-studentship application.
I just found out that he got his studentship and is off to New Zealand – he’ll be sending me an email soon.
Anyway, L. (that’s his name’s initial) is a funny one. I have had quite an influence on a number of people in my time, especially, younger men/boys when I was younger. With L., I did the following:
- convinced him to drop his apprenticeship (German: ‘Lehre’) and go back to school to do his A-levels (German: ‘Abitur’) – to his parents’ complete horror! At the time, his parents had just built their own house and needed every penny, so they were not impressed when he told them he’d stop work and go back to school. They hated me as ‘bad influence’ and we always had to sneak in at night. At one point, we even ran away for the week-end (lmfao). How romantic and how very naive!
- influenced him politically (to be a left-wing vegetarian – he’s still very anti-capitalist, much more than what I am – I’m a money slut these days)
- sent him ‘Die Ordnung des Diskurses’ (Foucault‘s Order of Discourse), thus influencing his choice of BA/MA subject (Media Studies, Politics, Sociology): He tried reading it when I first sent it to him but he didn’t understand any of it. Through his studies he’s learnt to grasp the concept, naturally
- encouraged him to use the Internet/technology (though to this day he is still very much in the online stone age. He only installed Skype today, and uses the Internet mainly to ‘check his emails’ (w00t – that’s so 1996).
- set an example with my PhD studentship and helped him with his own PhD studentship application (he will now be doing a PhD in – you have guessed it – Media Studies, just like me).
I’m sure it’s not a conscious thing, but it’s quite creepy really. I mean he doesn’t try to emulate me or fancy me or anything like that – I haven’t seen him in about 8 years and he’s in a very long-term relationship. He just seems to see me as some kind of good example to follow, in terms of ‘going your own way’, escaping from the fucking German countryside, wanting better for himself than rotting in a village working in a factory or whatever.
And it is true: If he hadn’t met me, he would NOT have done his A-levels, and he would therefore NEVER have gone to University (in Germany, there is no such thing as ‘mature student’ where A-levels aren’t required to study. You’ll ALWAYS need A-levels – Abitur or Fachabitur. There’s no way round it).
It all would have been very very different, and his mind and his way of thinking would be very different too. His life, from the age of 15 onwards, took a different route than the one his parents, his village life, his social surroundings, and his upbringing had planned.
My convincing him to do his Abitur (A-levels) really was the starting point.