Leaving university signals the end of an era. If anything, university has taught me that three years can fly by in an instant, whilst also feeling like it is lasting a lifetime. But, as the end becomes nigh, I can’t help thinking about what I will have to say goodbye to in the coming months.
Over the past three years, I have learnt a lot. I’ve learned less about journalism and media, and more about people, and poached eggs, and that no matter how strong, powerful and independent a house of six women can be, not one of you will be ever be brave enough to get rid of that spider.
The most important thing, however, I have understood as I moved away from home and grew out of my teens, is that your friends are the most valuable thing in your life.
Living with five other girls has obstacles. It’s accepting that somebody has used your expensive conditioner (again) and that someone has smashed your favourite mug, and knowing you can’t really get mad about it. It is recognising you have to be the butt of the joke in order to make the jokes and it’s knowing you’ll be woken up every Wednesday and Saturday night for the rest of the year because no matter how hard you try, there’s no such thing as quiet, drunk girls.
But for every drop of frustration, there is an ocean of delight. Tuesdays are my favourite day. I walk home at five o’clock and from the bottom of the road I can already hear them laughing and shouting from our back lounge. From five, we will sit together for hours, laughing, drinking teas and wishing we had better snacks to carry us through the night. Curled on one big sofa together, there are enough teddy bears, fluffy blankets and squishy pillows to sink a ship, we snooze on one another, stroke each other like babies and argue about what we want to watch on television.
I can’t imagine this level of ultimate comfort with anybody else. Nobody questions you. You can stay in your pyjamas until five in the afternoon and nobody asks questions and you can drink a bottle of wine with a straw at midday and no one will bat an eyelid. You’ll get caught eating toast at 2am and the only question asked will be “did you make me a piece?” and nobody will judge you when you bring seven mugs with a lid of mould down from your bedroom and absolutely nobody cares when you bring your teddy bear to wine and movie night.
We have so much to be thankful for. For the friends that sit on the floor in Glam crying with you when the boy you like is kissing someone else, and for the friends that buy you three double vodkas to try and stop the tears. For the friend that holds your hair back when you’re throwing up because you didn’t really need those last three drinks, and for the one that knocks on the door in the morning with a cup of tea and a bagel to ease the hangover and the heartbreak.
Between us, a long list of ‘boyfriends’, ‘just friends’ and ‘he slept with my friend’-s have come and gone, but the underground support system has remained solid. Collectively, there has been all sorts of heartbreak. Family traumas, bereavements, bad boyfriends, good boyfriends, boyfriends that didn’t give a fuck, boyfriends that gave too much of a fuck. There has been terrible friends, terrible fallouts, terrible jobs, terrible outfits. But whatever happens, you know you will come home to a house of people that truthfully care.
Thank you for the eye rolls, and for letting me know when I’m being a total bitch. Thank you for letting me borrow that top that I’ll never give back and thank you for punching that boy in the face, even when he totally (did) didn’t deserve it.
Thank you for collectively getting angry when I am hurt and throwing your arms around in a fit of swear words that bounce off the walls. Thank you for looking at me and knowing I should snuggle in your bed tonight, and noticing I forgot to make dinner and bringing me a heaped bowl of pasta.
Thank you for those little messages that say, “when are you home…you’ve been gone for an hour and I miss you” and for the “happy valentines day!” texts. Thank you for knowing I am a terrible cook and teaching me where you can, but catering for me when you can’t. For putting me to bed with a pint of water when I’ve had to many, and for getting out your purse when I haven’t had enough.
I will miss all the absolutely mundane, every day occurrences. Pottering around the house and always hearing somebody singing in the shower, and knowing if you hang on ten more minutes, someone will always, always be boiling the kettle.
For the special conversations, about love, and the future, and our past, and for the ridiculous ones about why turtles have shells and why ginger people really suit green.
Sure, the friendship will never be lost. We will meet up for cocktails and dinners, and we will organise hen parties and I’d hope to be stood in a pastel dress with a bouquet of flowers for every single one of you one day. But, I’ll miss seeing your ridiculous morning hair every day and your ugly dressing gowns and watching you sat on the toilet, drunk and hysterical. I’ll miss knowing there is always somebody upstairs with whatever type of hairspray/t-shirt/lipstick/underwear I need, and always somebody around to laugh at my jokes or straighten my hair.
We’ve all absorbed little bits of each other that have made us who we are now. We’ve adopted each others mannerisms, colloquialisms and our accents have blended into a confusing mash of nonsense. Saying goodbye to university will be hard for so many different reasons. The hardest though, will be saying goodbye to a group of people that have loved me unconditionally for the past three years, even when I absolutely did not deserve it.
So, final years, look at the people around you and embrace them. Absorb every little piece of them and kiss them and make them cups of tea and remind them you appreciate them, because one day you might live fifty miles away, or five hundred miles away, and it won’t be so easy. Love them with every fibre of your being, so that they’ll feel it today, and tomorrow, and for the next ten years to come, and that way you will never ever be too far away.