North Carolina’s famous blue sky is now accompanied by the promise of a very warm summer, with Finals week heating up both in terms of the weather and pressure. I cannot fault the efforts of NC State, however, in keeping the atmosphere across campus as relatively stress free as possible. This week I’ve had free ice cream, unlimited access to colouring pages and a full day of waterslides and pizza. Reliving the dreams of my five-year-old former self has been a great way to enjoy my last few days here and I’ve never felt so calm during exam season before. It definitely makes revising seem a lot less daunting than back in Manchester.
No one is mentioning it just yet, but the goodbyes are looming ahead of us. I have been extremely fortunate to have lived with such a diverse and loving group of friends for the past few months. A compass would implode if it had to track all the destinations we are headed to after this semester, but there is always the promise of future meet ups and, of course, a thriving Facebook group chat…
It’s also hard to accept that everything is becoming ‘the last’ of its kind. The last sports event, the last Sunday brunch at Case dining hall, the last time all of us will be living under one roof. But documenting the big, and even small, moments of happiness during the semester remind you how much has been accomplished in such a small period of time.
I recorded videos, took pictures and typed notes throughout the weeks and ended up with a 35-minute video which I screened to my friends. I highly recommend this if you want to re-live the highlights of your study abroad experience. Show friends and family back home what you got up to, rather than reciting your own version of the Queen’s Speech at the dinner table.
As soon as the term ends, I am jetting off to New York with my international friends for what will be the start of an all-American road trip. The journey won’t end in the USA because we will be travelling to Europe together afterwards for a little while, but then I will be right back at the start. I can’t predict how I will react when life at home falls into routine once again. I will probably not be used to having my own bedroom, the grand reintroduction of Maltesers into my life will most likely hurt my teeth soon after and I’ll have to prepare for my final year in Manchester.
But I have the comfort and reassurance of knowing that when I go back, I will be the best version of myself. I’ve learnt so much about my academic strengths (and weaknesses) which will hopefully benefit my studies next year. Living and learning with so many different characters has granted me a sureness of self which I hadn’t realised I lacked, and my sense of adventure has been fuelled enough to last me a lifetime.
Thank you to the University of Manchester and NC State.
Thank you to my family and friends back home.
Thank you Student Finance (I’m sorry, we’ve had some scary moments there).
Thank you to my Alexander family – Peace, love and memes from above, always.