Here we are, my penultimate blog post as an English student at Warwick. My next post is going to be all about my graduation, but for now I thought I’d take this opportunity to look back over the last three years and celebrate everything that Warwick has come to mean to me.
I will never pretend that university was one big rollercoaster ride of fun, where I spent every second smiling and making friends for life. I think it’s important to talk about my university experiences truthfully, especially if you’re reading this as a future Warwick student yourself, because it would be wrong of me to give false impressions. The truth is that university is hard. No matter where you go, it is asking a lot of you to learn to work and live by yourself, and there will undoubtedly be moments when you question whether you made the right decision. Trust me, I’ve had my share of those moments too. Sometimes those moments can be a little overwhelming, and of course some people will realise that this isn’t the place for them; they may change course or leave university early, and that’s fine too. But if you do have a genuine passion for your subject – if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else – and if Warwick feels like home to you – even if it takes a while for that to happen, then you’ll be okay.
I worried about making friends. I worried about people not understanding my indifference towards nightclubs (because that’s all that students do… right??). I worried about cooking and cleaning and paying the bills and looking after myself and staying healthy. I worried about my course – whether everyone would be better than me and have read more books than me and understand what on earth the lecturers were talking about far more easily than me. I worried about keeping up with the work and about balancing my relationship with my friendships and my academic life with my social life and all of the extra-curricular things I was throwing into the mix too. I worried about whether I was supposed to know what I wanted to do with my life yet and how to explain to people that I wanted to write and yes, that was a real job thank you very much and yes, I realised I would need to do something else too but no, I wasn’t sure what yet. I worried and worried and worried and –
Then I realised that while I was doing all this worrying, time hadn’t stopped. I was at university, the months were passing by and I was just… getting on with it. And it wasn’t that those worries had stopped or that the doubts had quieted completely, but they were becoming more like background noise with every day. At the same time as worrying about all of these things, I was somehow also having the time of my life. I was making friends I knew I’d keep for years to come, and I was eating okay and paying my bills on time and managing to stay relatively healthy. I was – somehow – balancing all the different aspects of my life and sure, a lot of the time it felt like I was back in that circus skills class I did at Brownies once learning to spin plates and thinking that any second now everything was going to come crashing down around me… but it didn’t.
I’ve worked at countless Open Days and Offer Holder days now speaking to prospective future students and I always make sure that I’m honest with them because that’s what they need to hear. I always tell them that it’s hard, but it’s enjoyable, and it’s still the best decision I ever made. I always tell them that no matter who stands in front of them making impassioned speeches about why this or that university is the best, above all they have to find somewhere that feels like a home because that’s what it’s going to be for three years.
Warwick has been an incredible home to me. I’ve said it on this blog before and I’ll say it again: these last three years I have done things I never thought I would have the confidence to do; I have proved to myself again and again that I am capable of a whole lot more than I used to think, and I am leaving with a huge number of memories of friends, of parties, of societies, of seminars, of conversations, of adventures, of laughter. Yes, it’s been hard when I’ve spent frustrated hours stuck on the same paragraph of an essay, or struggling to understand a piece of theory which just doesn’t seem to make any sense, or battling Freshers Flu for the fiftieth time even though I am far from being a Fresher now, or upset over marks that were a little disappointing, or hoping and praying that the weeks until my next student loan drops go relatively quickly because I’m a little deeper in my overdraft than I had planned.
But it doesn’t mean I regret any of it. You can’t have the good without the bad, and there has been more than enough good to make up for all of that and more. So thank you, Warwick. Thank you for all of the people I have met and the opportunities I have been given and the achievements I’ve ticked off. Thank you for being my home for three years. Thank you.