February 27, 2020, by UoN School of English

Bittersweet Symphony – my ode to being a final year English student

It seemed that as soon as I arrived back to University after Christmas, all fresh-faced and bushy tailed, the prospect of (gulp) graduating and (gulp) leaving Nottingham, hit me like a tonne of bricks (or should I say books?).

I have become so accustomed to my routine as an English student at Nottingham. Weekdays are filled with common-room reading sessions, Portland Coffee dates with my nearest and dearests and walks past Highfields Lake. The idea of moving out of Nottingham and not having these little moments is really quite daunting.

I am forcing myself to not dwell in the negative. The “I’ll never do this again” and “it just won’t be the same” are being turned into “wow, how lucky was I to have this”. It is important to appreciate the experiences and opportunities I have been given as an undergraduate, rather than spend my last few months dwelling on their inevitable endings.


The thought of graduating is the true embodiment of what they call ‘bittersweet’. I am so incredibly excited at the thought of finishing my dissertation and assessments and having a day with my loved ones to celebrate our achievements. I am already imagining the pictures we can get on campus – from the beautiful Trent building to our ‘Hollywood’ moment by the Nottingham sign (we truly are SO lucky that University Park is a haven for photo ops.) But the day will also be met with an impending sadness. My Nottingham University journey will be over. Obviously this might not be the case for some people, perhaps those doing masters or staying in Nottingham. But for me, it really will be a farewell party.


I will miss the Portland steps in the summer months, when everyone enjoys a short break from studying or lectures and lounges freely with an iced coffee or smoothie in hand. I will miss the Impact magazine office where I have shared many laughs with my fellow editors. I will miss the beanbags on the ground floor of Hallward library, which have been there for me in some difficult times. I will miss the raspberry and white chocolate muffin from Portland Coffee. I will miss, well, being a student here – the intense and invigorating seminar discussions, the safe and encouraging environment to share work and ideas. I will miss all of it. And I will be very proud to say that I am an alumni of the University of Nottingham, and in particular, the School of English.

Emily Hall is a third year English student at the University of Nottingham. She’s the Head of Features for Impact Magazine and a Features contributor for Her Campus. You can find her on Instagram @emi1ly_hall.

Image credits: UoN Image Bank
Posted in Student Words