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Inspired by last week’s comment piece, final year English Literature student Ashleigh Sullivan (front row, second from the left) reflects on the experiences she’ll miss when she’s finished her undergraduate degree:

My first year at university, like so many other people’s, started with the daunting prospect of moving into shared accommodation. I didn’t know what to expect, and being an only child didn’t help the situation as I was used to my own company and more importantly my own space. I had begun to work myself into a mild state of panic before I had even collected my keys. Who would I be placed with? What if I don’t like them? What if they don’t like me? What if I have zero privacy? Why do I have to share with people anyway? Cue many worry filled sleepless nights.

Fortunately, I was very lucky and was placed on a floor with a group of amazing people. But it didn’t just stop there. I’ve met a ton of people through the people on my hall floor and my course: friends from back home, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends from different courses, friends of friends from different halls, and our not so little group (there were 17 other people on my floor) got even bigger.

It’s been a full three years. We’ve worked hard, had mini assignment based melt downs, got lost in the library, laughed, occasionally got way too drunk, cried, discussed the aftermath, discovered Uplands Diner, when the sun actually shone we walked to the beach or fought for a space on the grass outside halls, we just about survived living without our parents and then we got houses, learnt about deposits, contracts and rent, burnt pasta (how?), ordered more than our fair share of Dominos, baked a ridiculous amount of cake, drank umpteen cups of tea, coffee and cans of Coke (I’m not a fan of hot beverages), lost keys, lost all known forms of I.D., had all day movie marathons, caught midnight showings at the cinema (even if you only came because I begged you in a moment of sheer fangirldom), all pitched in for Monopoly, made trips to each other’s home towns and there’s still so much more I could list but it would seemingly go on forever and I’m sure you’d all get bored of reading it. We’ve done a lot and we did it all together.

My university experience is inextricably tied to these people and I am so thankful that we all managed to find each other amongst the chaos of freshers week, enrolment and adjusting to this new way of life. Each and every one of them has made this whole experience something special and I can’t imagine how I would have done it without them.

I am truly sad that this all has to come to an end because we all have to move back home and for some of us that will place us in different countries. We’ll no longer be just down the hall, just upstairs, a short walk up the street or a trip into uni away. I really wish it didn’t have to end but it inevitably does.

I will miss you all. Thank you for the best three years of my life.

By Ashleigh Sullivan

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