The University of Southampton
Life at Southampton

It’s the final countdown…

This week I approach my graduation with the most surreal feelings imaginable.
I took the bus back from Amsterdam, my current home, to London on Friday night – forgetting how horrible and exhausting the trip was. Then I was lucky enough to attend a rather fabulous 1920s themed 21st birthday, and it was then, when I was surrounded by some of my closest friends dressed up in all their finery that it hit me: we had finished university. We weren’t going back.  
I know I might be two months late but it took a rather awesome band, a bucket of champagne and coming back from living in a different country to realise just how odd this concept was.

Utterly fabulous Great Gatsby themed party
Finishing university means a lot of things; finding a job, getting up early and, crucially, no more student living. The period of my life when I got to see my university friends effortlessly every day had come to an end. Yet I felt like it had hardly started. Personally I couldn’t imagine a time when I didn’t know these people – the ones who influence my life and the all choices I make. This is made all the more odd when you realise that three years ago I didn’t even know these people existed – just one aspect of how University changed my life. You meet these people instantly and they infiltrate your life so deeply that you can’t think of a time when they weren’t there, and of course it is not like they all disappear when you graduate, but I had been so hung up on the whole ‘get a job, start a career’ lark that I hadn’t truly given it much thought. Now I have university friends going to Bangladesh, India, New Zealand and America.
And that is sort of terrifying because whilst I owe a lot of my university experience to great lecturers and interesting books, I owe a great deal more to the people. It is the people that made my three years unforgettable and it is the people that will make my university experience last more than three years. These are people I will know all my life.

So I am graduating (argh!) but some of you lucky lucky people will be reading this just before arriving in September and I want to say how incredible your time will be, how much fun you’ll have and how many great people you will meet. I have no regrets from my university experience, I am adamant I did it all and I did it well, but I do wish I had appreciated fully how fun first year was at the time.

Maybe I am just feeling what every final year student feels: the desire to regress back into being a Fresher and do it all again, but better, wilder. For it is true what they say, you do not know what you have until it is gone – and this is true of first year, but also university as a whole. I got swept up in this bubble which I believed to be impenetrable, convinced that studying would never really end and that I would always have this life. Except now it is going to an end. Graduation will mark that and like a ton of bricks it has just hit me. The cartoon anvil has fallen on my head and I am lying a bit dazed on the ground. All I keep repeating is that it’s gone so quickly, that it is not time to leave university, not yet, not now.

Every time I realise it is all over I throw massive tantrums. A natural reaction I think. 
Which leaves me to say one final thing to all you people who haven’t yet finished; university will go too quickly, it’s inevitable. So make the most of it all, live every single moment, join every society, run for every position, stay up late, work too hard and make great friends. Enjoy.
Florence 

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