student life

When university is over: Musings of a third year

Suitcases, Student Life, Isobelle Mallinson, Kettle Mag
Written by Isobelle Mallinson

With the final semester of third year coming to a close, I can’t help finding myself worrying about the end – how do I leave this place that I love so much? I will miss this life, as nothing will ever be like university again. I find myself wanting to slow down time, to return to September and begin this year again – just in case I didn’t make the most of it the first time. More than that, starting university all over again would be perfect; to live the three years as I already have, to experience independence, happiness and fun without limit once more. Albeit impossible, I am sure that many of my friends feel the same and that many other students across the country will be terrified of the prospect of leaving behind an experience that they love so much.

Leaving university

The first thing I will miss is my friends and my boyfriend. We are all from different areas of the country, an hour or so by train – or longer. This means we will lose the close connection we have, the ability to talk all day and all night without worrying about getting back home or to bed, because our houses are only a street away. We can’t just decide what to do in the moment, and we will lose all spontaneity as we will have to plan our friendship through texts, calls, the pressure of the last train home. There will be no more spontaneous nights out after throwing on a dress from the wash pile, there will be no more 3am pizzas, and they will stop feeling like my family. I will miss how my friends are there to rely on, every hour of the day, they know everything about me because they live with me; and we are all in on this together. I am under no illusions. After university some of us will drift apart, we will lose the things that we once thought connected us, and leave it just a little too late to text back.

I will miss this beautiful place. Moving away from home for the first time was daunting, but learning about a new city is incredible. I will miss knowing the quickest ways home, the fastest routes to avoid the tourists and the passages that no one else knows about. I can’t help thinking that I will miss the memories I created in those streets, the spot where we laughed till we cried, and the street where you first kissed me. I remember the places where I felt hopeless, and the places where I felt happy – and everything that fell in between. For me, the city was a whole new place to discover.

End of university life

I don’t know how to leave this place because I have been so happy, but even if I stay nothing will be the same. I’ve banned the phrase ‘When we leave’ because with the end in sight I can’t bear to think that I am wasting a second of my time here. With everyone gone and new students taking our place, the university and the city stop being ours. The houses are inhabited by new students, transforming our old rooms and making new memories in a place we once called home. I wish I could leave with a sense of joy – that a part of me can always say ‘I was there’.

I am scared to return home because I will feel that I have regressed, I have experienced this amazing thing and returned to where I first started. I don’t know how I will cope with the loss of my independence. I want to cook my own food, wash my own clothes and walk out of the house without even a discussion, but when I return home I will not have this independence. I want to begin walking with my friend, end up in a field, laugh, start back, find a Mcdonalds, laugh some more and then eat two burgers without feeling any shame.

University is by far the best thing I have ever done, and I always knew it couldn’t last forever. I never would have imagined the impact it has had on me, the way you return entirely changed, matured, independent and happy. I have 3  months left, and I intend to make the most of every day, because then I won’t have any regrets. When I leave I will be sad but happy –  because this amazing experience happened and I will not forget a second of it, because that would be an injustice to the people who have made this journey so incredible. For first year students, this is the beginning of a road to something great and beautiful that you’ll never want to end. For me, it’s time to leave and I understand that, I have to – but I wish more than anything I could stay here in this moment, now, forever.

Do you share Isobelle’s feelings? Get in touch and tell us about your university experience…