The One Where I’m Keeping an Eye on the Little Things

This post is from my student blog for Exeter, and was posted in early March (still being Difficult, said-blog, so I may well start transferring posts over to here because it’s just a tad frustrating). I wrote it after the excitement of having my Ottawa placement confirmed and just as a general update. I also wrote it because I Know Me and I know that getting caught up in planning and thrilling over going to Canada is going to detract inevitably from the end of my second year. And, as much as I can, I really don’t want that to happen because year abroad aside, I love this university, I love my life here, and I certainly don’t want to wish it away.

‘I will miss Exeter next year, am in some ways already missing it. I’ll miss the practical compactness of the city and the fact it’s mild enough now that the daffodils and snowdrops are already all over campus. I’ll miss my friends too, but fortunately most are doing Industrial Placements for third year, so most of us will be back together again for final year. A year away though I think will do me the world of good. This past term I have definitely felt myself slowing up a bit motivation-wise, and although I will be obviously working towards my degree, I hope I’ll be having a lot of fun too. Seeing as I didn’t take a gap year, this will be the first big chance to do the ‘independent travel thing’ as such.

With so much of my mind focused on the future however, I’m a little worried I’ll wish away second year. I have always been the type to look forward to things; ‘this next summer holiday will be the best ever’, ‘I can’t wait to see family at Christmas’, ‘when I get to Exeter I will have made it’- and while I know there’s nothing wrong with that, I do think sometimes I’m not appreciating the here and now enough. Carpe diem and all that. Because second year has been on the whole very kind to me, and I know that when I graduate this will be the part of university life I miss the most, the day to day stuff I mostly take for granted. The little things that keep me smiling through the deadlines and drama.

I couldn’t sleep the other night thinking this all over, so I ended up scribbling some of these little things down on my notepad. I know they might not mean much to anyone reading this, but this blog has become somewhat of a diary for me, and it might hopefully remind you too to remember the highlights of the mundane and ordinary.

The Little Things

  • The walk home from campus after my 5:30 lecture, rounding the corner to cross the bridge over St James’ Park platform and looking back up along the rail tracks to see the sunset.
  • Fernanda, my Brazilian friend on the university women’s basketball team, who is always making loud jokes and constantly laughing, even at 7am training on a Tuesday morning.
  • The fact that every week in the Spring Term when I get up for my 8:30 lecture it’s that little bit lighter outside, as the long dark days of winter slowly ebb into summer.
  • Coming back from the student health centre, and walking through the stunning beauty of the gardens at Reed Hall and feeling instantly a little calmer.img_1014
  • The days when someone shouts up the stairs ‘Tess! You’ve got mail!’ and it’s a beautiful letter or postcard or paper creation from my good friend Ellie in Colorado (who I met when she was on exchange at Exeter). No matter how glum or down I might be feeling that day, her mail always cheers me by a country mile.
  • Piling into one bed with my housemates on a sunny Saturday morning, slightly hungover, to try and piece together what happened the night before.
  • The satisfaction of walking past all the prospective students clutching maps and following student ambassadors on Open Days and thinking ‘I remember being where you were, imagining myself here- and here I am.’
  • Laughing while collectively brushing our teeth in the corridor with my housemates before bed.
  • When I’m dreading doing the reading for a seminar, but it actually turns out to be so interesting I spend an extra hour doing background research on Wikipedia and Youtube, and I’m reminded that I chose the right degree.
  • Bumping into familiar faces on campus from my course or who I know through various societies and getting a quick, unexpected hug in between lectures.
  • When it’s getting on for evening and the late afternoon light turns everything in my room to gold and I switch on my fairy lights and snuggle up on my bed and feel incredibly cosy.
  • The fact that after a couple of tricky, tearful days I came home to find not one, but two huge bags of chocolate M&Ms bought for me by my housemates, who’d both unwittingly had the same idea to try and cheer me up.
  • Someone else giving in before me at the state of our kitchen and attacking the washing up (AND wiping down the surfaces afterwards. ~Bliss~ )
  • When I’m just beginning to drift off to sleep and I can hear my housemates trying to laugh quietly in the room next door.
  • Getting really into writing an essay because, actually, I’m pretty passionate about the line of argument I’m going for.
  • The Couple of our house arguing over lentil and chilli flake proportions while cooking together, and my other housemates and I trying not to let them see we’re cracking up.img_9788
  • When I happen to have an umbrella in my bag when a sunny day abruptly turns into a downpour.
  • Car trips back from National League basketball games, when we stop off for chips and our coach sings along to 70s disco tracks all the way down the M4.
  • Catching up with my parents on Skype on Saturday mornings, and when they take the iPad down to the dog so she can ignore me entirely.
  • Days when we all give in and order take-out, eating it sitting on my bed until my room stinks of pizza, and listening to whatever song of the week I’ve decided to play on repeat.
  • Going for a run just as the sun is starting to set and watching the clouds turn pink as I’m coming back up the hill from Morrisons’.
  • Having a friend turn to me and say ‘let’s sod revision and get fish and chips on the beach today’ and hopping on a train with a return ticket of £2.85 and being able to do just that, the sea breeze messing with our hair and our fingers sticky with chip salt and ketchup.

This might seem a little cheesy, but even if these parts of university life maybe aren’t the most exciting or noteworthy, they are the parts I know I will miss the most. They’re what remind me that for all the down days and days where I question myself, I know I should remember that I’m lucky that I am here, with the people I am with.’

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Clifftop path at Exmouth, Devon

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