Pictured above is the most serene scene, taken on May bank holiday weekend. Crisp messy sheets and two snoozing pussycats with the sun warming the window pane. This is perhaps the nicest my student house has ever looked and felt.
I thought I would take time to write an update and, as it is the last week of university and student life after all, say a few things.
This past week has been absolutely crazy. I thought that I might struggle to find things to do but it has been the opposite; I have had to struggle to find the time to get everything done. There were loose ends regarding the house that Adam and I needed to sort out so we were whizzing in and out of central London and making phone calls and we’re nearly there but have a few more things to do on Tuesday when everyone returns to their jobs after a sleepy bank holiday weekend.
My bank holiday doesn’t feel much like a holiday. I am making lists, crossing off tasks, packing boxes, doing laundry and cleaning, editing an Ebook for a job from Penguin and somehow have to find the time to edit and add to my own novel which has been viewed by an editor now and sits untouched as I edited it really well but I have been asked to add more of some characters as they were well-loved by the team. I’ll save the book talk for later…
I feel like I have been burning myself out lately. The other day I went to Thorpe Park with my flatmate and then got a call asking if I wanted to join a VIP suite in the O2 with my best friend to see Busted so I rushed to that. That was so good; I’ve seen them twice now on their reunion tour and it makes me so happy and nostalgic. I have a lot of love for them and it makes me feel like a child all over again. The next day, Adam and I had to go to IKEA and do some major home-wear hauling and decide on our furniture. It was actually really successful and not as stressful as we thought but then we came home and gutted the kitchen out and began packing and bubble wrapping our lives.
I think I’ve been too busy to notice that it’s the end of university. Some people are more dramatic about the whole thing than others. I guess it’s different for me because I’m not going home or just going back to exactly what I was doing before university like most people so I don’t have the added emotional weight of leaving a place I love like other people do. I’d be as upset as them if I were leaving too. Fortunately I’m not and I’m moving on to better things so I need university to be over to do what I want to do so I’m happy about it instead of sad. I also had the attitude that I was here to do one thing and I did it and I can leave now. I got a first, by the way, I got my provisional grades the other day! So that was exciting and marked the end of three very interesting years. I worked so hard and am ecstatic that it shows. I’m beginning to feel proud of myself for the first time in my lifetime. I have been so successful in the last couple of months, despite having some hellish times before that.
I’m not sad to be leaving university. It isn’t even remotely affecting me as I thought it would. People keep saying that they’ve cried over it and stuff and I guess I’m just not an over-emotional person like that. I can be sentimental but I just don’t really care that university is over. I came here because they offered me a big scholarship where I get thousands of pounds just for bringing my higher end grades to the university. It was a really good opportunity that I’m really grateful for and I couldn’t have lived without it.
I won’t miss the degree itself. Our philosophy class was small and half the people were absent the whole three years or high or shy and the classes were few and far between anyway. I won’t miss the stress of the heavy workload. I’m happy to be done with education. I wish I could have picked my modules and taken interesting subjects but it just wasn’t an option here. Philosophy is kind of a niche if you couldn’t tell.
I won’t miss the house. People keep asking me that. It’s been really wonderful to live and get to know people who are so different but I found it quite difficult at times. I’m quite an introvert and find some people and some situations quite draining and need alone time in between to recuperate and I never really got to do that at university because it’s all go go go all the time. Sometimes, especially living with depression or hearing the occasional upsetting news from home, I wanted to be alone but there is no privacy in a shared house.
The house has been a disaster in itself as well. We’ve had floods and mould and smashed window frames and burst sewage pipes and all sorts. I hate it here and have done the whole two years. My bedroom is probably the cleanest and safest room in the house and the only one that doesn’t smell funky. I get cabin fever being in here and not having a place to call ‘home’ has been so hard on me. When we were younger and began moving houses, home became really important to me in a big way and I get so upset when I have no choice in the matter. There is only one house that has ever been my home and last year my parents sold it, as you may already have read, and I took it so hard. It’s difficult to explain the sentimentality of it but so many things happened to me and my home was my sanctuary and I adored everything about it and I fell apart and put myself together so many times there. That house saw me grow up and it was the only place I have ever felt at peace and I still get upset thinking about how much I miss it. I cannot wait to move out of this student house and find my own home that can’t be taken from me.
I think I’ll miss the campus. My university is beautiful. I’ll miss the serenity of it but I can always visit; it’s open for walking through.
I’ll miss Richmond Park. With cabin fever and needing my own space, Richmond Park has been my escape many a time and I am in love with it. Where we’re moving to is surrounded by really good parks but I’m sure there are no deer and few lakes and streams and hidey spots like I’ve come to love in Richmond Park.
University allowed me to become the best version of myself, though at times I know I was the worst. I kept up the whole social part of university in terms of clubbing and whatnot for a year before giving up. I had one of the worst nights ever when I pushed myself to my limits and got really hurt and the truth of the matter is: I don’t like clubbing, I don’t like being grabbed by strangers, I don’t like being trodden on and losing a foot for a week because of heavy girls in sharp heels and I don’t like losing people in crowds. University taught me that I don’t have to change what I like and dislike for people because the people I made friends with I bonded with over other interests and our honesty of our likes and dislikes.
University taught me tolerance…eventually. I found it difficult to adjust to communal living because I didn’t realise that so few people would know how to be clean and civilised. It took some people a really long time to learn about hygiene and respect. If I could go back and have more patience for people then I would but at least I’m more tolerant as a person now. University reminds you that even though you might be an adult, it is the turning point for many people and not everybody gets there at the same time.
University taught me resilience. There were times where I lost it in frustration because no matter how many books I read or seminars I attended, there were things I just did not get but somehow I pulled firsts out of nowhere. Sometimes it takes a few deep breaths, a cup of tea and another look over the work from a different angle.
University has been okay. It was a fantastic opportunity to move to London, to use distance as an excuse to people I needed to let go of, to grow as a person and embrace independence. I think it’s the same for everyone. Lots of people cherished their independence and I know so many people that were waiting for university so they could leave people and situations behind.
I don’t necessarily think that the degree part of university is useful. It doesn’t really put you in any greater position than people who didn’t go to university. It also puts you in a lot of debt. I don’t regret it at all but I just think it’s better to be honest before people go to university on that lie alone.
Goodbye to the University of Roehampton. Thanks for the degree and everything. I had some wonderful times and met some interesting people and, above all else, I met someone really important in my life. Goodbye to this house. I might return within a few years to applaud you being knocked down. The only thing that made you cool was the Busted video that was filmed here.
Here’s to being brutally honest about moving on,