When I was in Paris, I would find a square or something as close as possible to a square in the density of the city, where I’d listen to an omnipresent guitar or accordion and try and think. Sitting in the middle of something can make you feel like you’re a part of it, which can be very calming. So sitting by the Bargate in the centre of Southampton, I stopped putting off the thought that I’m leaving a place that over a few years has become home.
In the fantastic whirlwind that was first year, I didn’t think much about whether or not I was enjoying it. Second year and Paris were tougher and I think I felt bad more often than good but I don’t want to hark on that because I’ve been completely privileged to have been surrounded by some of the loveliest people in the world. I thank you all, who’ve made this final year an absolute treat. Thanks to the commune at Rosemary house where, before wifi and sofas, we rolled our chairs from our desks into the lounge and would chat for hours. Then when we did have wifi we’d enjoy film nights and in essay season we’d fester on the sofas rattling out words interspersed with memes and tea. We’d cook together or explore Southampton’s fine dining establishments, go out to some grotty clubs or stay in and dance and share songs. I’ll remember the crosswords at 1am, getting the deals in the Tesco Express on Lodge and the cashier asking where “the other one” was when Rad and I went separately; karaoke in the Richmond, exploring National Trust properties; numerous trips to the cinema; when my flatmates ran out to get plasters and TPC when I forgot how to run. Thanks to the runners, who coerced me out of bed at 7am whilst the rest of Portswood slept, who I’ll meet again one day at some race somewhere in the world. I won’t forget the long runs to Winchester, the laps of the track, the cycles to the New Forest, my inability to make cakes … Kelly, Rach and Emily’s astonishing ability at making cakes.
I want to thank the friends who’ve tolerated or consoled me when I’ve been wretched. Thank you for being there, you’ve helped me realise that it’s ok to ask things from people, to ask for help, for an ear, for a hug. More than it being ok, it’s important. You’ve helped me listen to myself: if you’re tired, sleep, if you’re irritable or your head’s bad, run, play tennis, anything. Open up. Others are probably going through something similar. Cook with people, create, have fun, relax. Lower your expectations of others, they’re only human too. Obviously I came here for a degree but it’s been way more than that. Thanks to the people, I’m ready to leave and I’m not sad about that as such because I know myself better, I’ve met these wonderful souls and I have so much love for this place and this time.