September 4, 2013, by Ellie

Past, present and future

It’s been three years since I stood in the room I grew up in, halfway through the process of packing up my life to go to university for the first time. No matter the amount of preparation that goes on – hoarding piles of brochures with smiling students, three separate lists of “what to pack for uni” pinned on the wall, colour coded folders – it’s hard to shake the feeling that really, you are not ready for this. In a way there was no way I was going to be ready and that was actually okay.

The first week passed in a blur. Got my little room in Broadgate Park. Went to Tesco to get kitted out with an array of value kitchenware. Started to fill my room with things and accidentally filled the kitchen with acrid chilli smoke the first time I tried to cook. I got my first taste of Nottingham nightlife, going on nights out and meeting people who have stuck with me since. Weeks blurred into months of nights spent kicking myself over a lab report left until the last minute, mornings biking down past the front of Portland to lectures, and arguments over the washing up.

Not everything goes according to plan. The morning bike trips got harder, and what seemed like a minor health issue turned out to be something more serious. Leaving university halfway through the year was one of those things I was never going to be ready for, but I had people around me to make it better.

Back to the present, I am standing in a different room but surrounded by the same stuff and I am now packing to spend an entire year in Malaysia. This is something I have been looking forward to since I got my place at Nottingham. Given my recently acquired status as a Sickly Student I feel very lucky to be where I am now (a couple of run ins with my health over the summer shook me up a bit, but it seems that everything has miraculously resolved itself on time).

The time that passed between these two moments has been packed with experience. Friendships have built themselves up and broken down. I met someone I now want to spend the rest of my life with way back in Week One. I’m getting a bit better at getting these lab reports done on time, and I’m always going to be rubbish at the washing up.

In the end experience continues to tell me the same thing. Prepare all you want, there is no way to predict the future. This doesn’t work so well if you were to leave all your clothes behind in England or something (I do not recommend this). What it means is to anticipate what you can, and look forward to the rest. Here’s to new beginnings.

Most pictures of me in first year are cringe-worthy, so here is a picture of my room instead!

Most pictures of me in first year are cringe-worthy, so here is a picture of my room instead!

Posted in Preparation