Emma was struggling with her new life at college. It was her first semester and she had spent too much time getting to know everyone and enjoying her freedoms and not enough time doing her studies.
She was already behind by one essay and the new essay assignments still kept arriving into her student portal.
Her "senior buddy" Katherine, who was now in her third year, had helped Emma settle in and had left her alone.
When they had met up in the refectory for a catch up in week 3, Katherine was surprised to find that Emma was nervous and on the verge of tears.
"I just can't cope here " she had blurted out. "I had better leave college, it's not for me."
"Nonsense," her buddy had responded. "You just need some self-discipline and to start planning out your time."
As Emma quietened down her friend had suggested that she help her finish her first essay and then they could plan a timetable together.
"I've also got some other suggestions", Katherine added, "but we'll go through those when I see you."
The next day Emma turned up at the apartment which Katherine rented with two friends. First year students were on campus but after that they tended to find their own accommodation in town.
The other girls were in the sitting room so Katherine took Emma through to her bedroom and they settled down to go through Emma's essay notes. In an hour or so Emma had enough material and structure to her work to feel confident that she could hand in a reasonable first submission.
They turned their attention to time tabling and planning work. Katherine had a lot of good ideas on this subject.
"It is all about self discipline", she explained. "It doesn't come easy when in the past you have been told exactly what to do by your teachers.
"I know. I've never felt quite so alone as I do at college."
"Well I'm here to help. In fact there are a few of us who could help you, if you think you need some discipline."
As she picked up her hairbrush from the small study desk, Katherine placed a special emphasis on that last word and it seemed to hang in the air between them.