Moment of silence this morning as I scrolled Instagram. Please allow me this sentimental post as I come to terms with the fact that I’m really not going back to uni this September.
This weekend is move-in weekend for eager-eyed, bushy-tailed freshers and the start of begrudged returns for everyone else to the University of Aberdeen. I thought I had already come to terms with my undergraduate degree being over but apparently there was still some ties left. Seeing pictures of the beach and Broadhill and knowing I won’t be going back there at all, walking past the football stadium, up to King Street, down Spital and following that hill winding down to campus is making me sad today.
And a part of me wants to go back in time and yell at Uni-Me to ‘Make The Most Of It’ or that ‘You Don’t Know How Easy You Have It’. Graduate life is tough and I miss the comfort of knowing I had a purpose, even if that purpose was getting to class on time, doing the prep work, handing in essays.
But the truth is, I spent a lot of fourth year trying desperately to commit each moment to my memory, knowing that this was temporary. The fact that I’m not going back to my undergraduate degree is not as a result of a lack of effort by me. It was not that I did not do enough with my time there, it’s just that my time there has ended.
I have my degree now. University as I know it has ended since pretty much everyone who wanders the campus I have stored away in my memory has moved on to new beginnings and those who haven’t yet soon will.
This doesn’t make it any easier to miss the beach where I walked at all times of the day and night, accompanied by a revolving group of friends, family and dogs, eating salty chips or whippy ice cream and protecting both from the harsh North Sea winds.
Doesn’t make it easier to miss the route from my old flat to campus, the hills and roundabouts, the pastel-coloured houses with bright flowers swaying in the breeze.
Or uni itself – a compact campus that seemed incomprehensible to a scared wee first year who couldn’t understand why the Taylor Building B Block was just a bridge over a car park. Where old buildings meet newer, still old buildings meet new, futuristic buildings, already outdated and giving the impression that the campus is always stuck in the middle of change.
Today I miss the few parks sprinkled throughout the city. I miss Rosemount. I miss the Belmont Cinema and the Coffeehouse and Back Wynd, next to the graveyard where I spent many lunch-breaks, avoiding seagulls and being slightly nicer to pigeons.
Today I miss the flats I visited once or twice or twenty times, the random parties and the wandering down alleyways, the long walks into town and the late night stops at McDonalds or the casino if you’re feeling fancy. I miss Exo.
I miss the city itself and how I can navigate it in my mind still, so easily, knowing shortcuts to get us there faster. This intense familiarity feels like a skill I’m wasting by not being there.
But uni was the people I met, the ones scattered around the world now. So today I guess I really miss the community of people, made up of friends of friends of friends, who populated these areas of the city for these four years and made it the uni I knew.
Alright, sentimental stuff over.
Good luck to anyone starting uni this year. It’ll be scary (or maybe you’ll be fine!) but give it a chance and I hope you find your people.