Well, two months down the line and my final autumn term at university is officially over. In fact, I actually arrived home for Christmas more than a fortnight ago, thanks to York’s bizarrely-early end date; as a York student you have to get used to exchanging Secret Santa gifts and saying ‘Have a great Christmas!’ just a few weeks after you celebrated Halloween. It’s been a busy term; despite having fewer commitments having left my role at the campus newspaper, third year truly swept the rug from under my feet, and it didn’t help that there was always some social gathering or another to distract me from my reading and work. But we made it to the end, as ever (forgetting that essay that’s due in on Monday of week one next term…). And it really was one of the most fun terms I’ve ever had, filled with laughter and the good kind of busyness. As a result, I definitely achieved that main goal I set myself right at the beginning: to just enjoy myself. So here are a few highlights from the last ten weeks, with some not-always-relevant photos to illustrate…
I explained a bit about my modules this term in my Goals for Autumn Term post, and they really didn’t disappoint. My 19th Century American Literature classes were always so much fun, thanks to a really engaged, bubbly and friendly group of classmates, and the set texts provided so much scope for interesting discussion and insight. My Fashion module (which I took along with the lovely Ella!) was equally fascinating, and the trip we got to take to look at garments in the collection at the Castle Museum was amazing – I didn’t expect to be able to handle such artefacts, and it was so helpful when it came to visualising the clothes worn by the characters in our texts. As for the dissertation – well, we’ll check in with that another time…
Saying goodbye to Nouse
I’ve never written a full post about my experience with Nouse (pronounced, against the better judgement of its founders back in 1964, ‘Nooze’, as in News/the River Ouse…), the campus newspaper I joined in my first few weeks at university. It remained one of the focal points of my uni experience and was the main thing which kept me going during my tricky first year, thanks to the office bubble, the structure it brought, and the amazing friendships to which it introduced me. In my second year I took on a more senior role as Editor of our culture and lifestyle supplement which, despite its challenges, was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I’m really proud of the work our team produced, particularly in the face of some of the difficulties we encountered along the way. What’s more, although I really enjoyed my time at the paper, it showed me that a career in journalism, for which I’d been planning for around five years, wasn’t actually what I wanted to do. As a result, upon entering third year I decided it was time to step away from the ageing computers and cramped office and let it go. It was a little emotional to say goodbye to what I see as a really important and precious chapter, but definitely the best decision for my degree – and all of the positives will stay with me forever.
I’m a Student Ambassador at York, and I also work for the Events Team. The jobs are both brilliant, and so varied; as an Ambassador I might be giving tours around campus to prospective students on one shift, and another helping out with primary school kids visiting York’s Astrocampus. I’ve had more Events shifts this term than anything else, though, and they’ve been really interesting; I largely work on the door and running mics at public lectures, which means I get to sit in on talks and panel discussions I might never have attended otherwise. Highlights this term included York alumnus Anthony Horowitz, and a high-security in-conversation event with the Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev; though I largely disagreed with his politics, it was an absolutely fascinating discussion. The teams I work with are so lovely, and I’ll really miss doing this kind of work after university, so I’m really glad to be making the most of it now.
Getting out and about
In my second year I started a little routine of going into York on a Sunday and taking a walk around my beautiful city. Meandering through its streets on a quiet afternoon helped me to really appreciate York as a place, and I’ve spent more time this year just enjoying that I get to live here. This city has the best autumns, and it’s strange to think I won’t see the leaves turn next year. I’m also incredibly lucky in that whenever G comes up to visit he brings the car, so we get to go and explore this amazing county more widely; my favourite trip this term was to the gorgeous Bolton Abbey, about which I’ll be writing more soon. My mum also stayed for a weekend at the end of term to check out the Christmas markets, and we followed up last year’s visit with another trip to Castle Howard to see their new set of festive decorations and indulge in a Christmas dinner.
Making the most of it
This was my ultimate goal for the term and, really, the entire year, and it’s mostly focused on the people I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by at university. I haven’t quite got the balance right between staying at home with my housemates and ensuring I spend enough time with my course-friends and others yet, so I’ll be working to readdress that balance next term. All the same, there has been more laughter this term than I can ever remember at uni. From birthday celebrations to society balls to chilled-out coffees to Christmas meals and my long-awaited first-ever Betty’s trip, a week hasn’t gone by where I’ve not had a reason to give thanks for the incredible people I’ve found at uni.
There have also been some changes at home, too; with three new housemates, and a group that has largely gelled together fantastically, the atmosphere in the house is a little louder and more boisterous than in my second year. Thankfully that’s exactly what I wanted for my third year, and it’s hard to pick a highlight from the weeks of pumpkin practical jokes, taking the fun route to Asda, listening to ‘Havana’ and ‘Man’s Not Hot’ on repeat, nights in watching Community or Blue Planet or the NFL or all seven Fast and Furious films (plus the eighth which, we’ve established, doesn’t count), and long talks into the early hours. I think, though, it can be pretty well summed up in our Christmas celebrations: we spent November listening to Christmas music and eating advent calendar chocolates each day, decorated the house, and swapped Secret Santa gifts over homemade Christmas dinner and a seemingly endless flow of wine on the 25th. These precious moments, I’ve realised, are what makes uni so special – and although its temporary nature is bittersweet, I’m grateful to be making the most of every last one.