Today is the last full day of term before anyone who doesn’t have exams is unceremoniously kicked out of their rooms by 10am tomorrow morning (a big thank you to New College for that), and it’s only really properly started to hit me this week that leaving Oxford this time round is going to be very different to all the times (five, to be precise) that have gone before. Admittedly, I’m here for two more weeks yet because I’ve volunteered to help with the open days (keen as per), but only a handful of my friends are staying too; for most of them, this is the last time that we’ll be in Oxford together as students. And that is an utterly terrifying realisation.
I’ve made better friends here in Oxford than I could ever have imagined, and the two years that I’ve spent here have undoubtedly been the most formative of my life so far. I’ve learnt so much about so many different things (ironically, my degree probably appears pretty far down on the list) and even though it definitely hasn’t been an easy couple of years – in fact, it’s been remarkably tough at times – it has been 100% worth it.
On another level, contrary to everything I’ve just said, I can’t wait to get away from Oxford and the stress and pressure it foists onto its students and to get stuck into my year abroad. I want to see what life outside of education is like, remind myself what it feels like not to have endless deadlines constantly looming, cook for myself again, meet new people, and come back in Michaelmas 2016 feeling fresh and knowing that I’ve lived a year of real life.
This term has absolutely flown by, and was rounded off perfectly on Monday evening when I went, somewhat spontaneously and unexpectedly, to a ball at Warwick Castle with four of my best friends…
…but I can’t help but feel that the last eight weeks have been building up to the year abroad. I’ve been planning it for ages, have discussed it with and explained it to numerous people, booked my (single) Eurostar ticket, and now I just want to do it.
Oxford, you’ve been fab, and I feel 100% sure that many more good times will be had here in 2 years time when I’m back for the fourth year of my degree…but I need a break. It’s not you, it’s me.
Laval, come at me.