University, I’ll be forever grateful.

When asked the other day what my ‘best bits’ of Uni have been, the natural response that I returned with shocked me. Now, it may have been the wine talking but I was impressed with the answer I gave. An answer more than ‘this one time I was sh**faced’ or ‘that really good result I got’. No, the answer I gave made me realise how beneficial my university experience has been on a deeper level.

Firstly, it’s made me realise and take pride in the fact that I don’t need to change around people. I mean, I’ve made so many friends at Uni don’t get me wrong, but I act just as mad around them as I do at home. I’ve realised that no matter how bonkers or random you are, there will always be people who love you for that very reason. If you’re a plain Jane, quiet and to yourself – people will love you for that too. I lack a filter, get a bit loud when I drink, wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes overwhelm myself with my emotions, but I’m still surrounded by people who I love and love me so there’s no need to apologise. Just don’t change for anyone (unless you’re really horrid), there really is no point and whatever you’re doing or wherever you are in the world you will always find people who appreciate you.

Another best bit was how my perspective has changed for the better. This has happened totally subconsciously but I recognised it recently. I mean, I still stress about the tiniest issues, but I think that’s just human. However, so many things that would have eaten me up inside back in September 2014 no longer affect me in the same way. I used to have zero confidence, but now I have become confident in who I am. I used to freak out about being away from home, but I now appreciate both my homes in Suffolk and York so much and realise that they will always be there, holding a place in my heart and bringing nostalgia whenever I return. The littlest things bothered me and I couldn’t stop worrying, but I can now see the bigger picture.

I am ready to explore and open to new opportunities. Who knows where my first, second or third job will be? Who knows who I’ll marry or when I’ll meet them? Who knows what I’ll be doing this time next year? All I know is that university has enhanced my life for the better, brought so many new people in and made me appreciate those who were already there. It’s made me relax more and take things in my stride with an open mind and an open heart. It’s made me worry less because I can think more rationally so that things that once seemed huge now aren’t so important. It’s made me acknowledge the need to put the brakes on sometimes and stop planning every single stage. It will all work out. Just chill. It’s made me grow.

I’m not for one minute saying that you have to experience Uni to gain these benefits, but I think that in life sometimes an experience like this one coming to an end can make you notice the ways in which it has developed you as an individual. I’ve loved every minute of university and if I were to do it all over again I would and I wouldn’t change a thing. But the best bit about it has been what I have learnt about life more than my academic studies. It has been discovering qualities that I never knew I had and seeing the world in ways that three years ago seemed alien. 

I’ll leave you all with one of my go-to quotes to live by at the moment from a song by Noah and the Whale – “What you share with the world is what it keeps of you”. I think that’s a great way to put it. It’s a statement to keep in the back-burner as something to remember. And it’s so true, embrace who you are people the world needs a youSo as I pack up three of the greatest years of my life into my tiny Fiesta and head back to Suffolk, I smile at my achievements both academically and personally. University, I’ll be forever grateful.

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