Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Student holidays at home and abroad

For final year students, last Thursday was results day and, just like last year, I had conveniently booked a holiday during that week.

I was in Amsterdam for four days with my girlfriend and as I got my first text telling me that our results had been put online, we rushed to find a waffle shop with free Wi-Fi.

It was then, whilst eating my waffle topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream, that I found out I had been awarded a first class honours for my Masters in Physics! I was over the moon and the knowledge made my waffle taste even nicer than it already did!

Amsterdam is a beautiful city, notable for its architecture and canals. 

Naturally that moment became one of my holiday highlights, along with watching the sea lion show at the local zoo, taking a relaxing canal tour through the city and engaging with the interactive exhibits at the Amsterdam Museum. Whilst Amsterdam is known for being a party city, it also has a large amount of culture, including the fascinating van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum, which houses an enormous gallery of 17th Century paintings amongst other collections.

The sea lions were incredible. 

As I mentioned above, this is not my first holiday whilst I’ve been at University; I went to the beautiful Belgian town of Brugge last year and I have also been on two less-cultured holidays to Marmaris and Magaluf. With budget airlines and great deals to be found online (we found a four star hotel room at a very tempting discounted price), going on holiday as a student is cheap and easy, and is fast becoming part of the University experience, especially considering that students have incredibly long summer holidays that run from June to September!

My girlfriend and I enjoying our holiday in Amsterdam together. 

Even if your friends aren’t organised enough to book a summer excursion, there are still chances to travel as many societies hold their own holidays. For ArtSoc (the University’s Art Society) there was an opportunity to go to Florence over the Easter break, but sadly with a looming Masters project deadline, on top of revision and interviews, I was unable to go. Most sports societies tend to organise competitions or tours abroad too, and if the sun isn’t your thing, the University has a Skiing and Snowboarding Society too!

As a student it can sometimes be hard to find funds for holidays, so there are always alternatives closer to home. At some point over the summer, my friends back home in Surrey want to do a small camping trip, where badly barbecued burgers and haphazard tent erecting is more than enough to have a good time! If you’re in Southampton over the summer, why not explore the New Forest with some friends? It couldn’t be closer!

This summer is my last big break before I start work as a medical physicist in September, so I am allowing myself to enjoy it and take all the opportunities that come my way. My holiday to Amsterdam turned out to be a perfect way to celebrate all the hard work I put in to my degree and I’m now looking forward to graduating in three weeks’ time.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Waiting for results

I write this post the day that results are due to be released – a final results day after many years of post-exam suspense, just waiting to find out how it actually all went. Four years of work towards an MEng in Software Engineering will be summed up by a single number – so here’s hoping it falls upwards of that illustrious 2:1 category (or even above!).

In the meantime, to stave off that curious mix of anticipation and trepidation (with this year’s exams being towards a Masters, so even more difficult to predict!), I’ve been keeping myself busy with fond farewells to all. As I wrote last time, I actually think I’ve been busier since my degree ended, somehow! There’ve certainly been plenty of social opportunities to see off my time in Southampton as a student, and I’ve been determined to make the most of them and enjoy the surroundings of a city that’s now a second home to me.

Amongst the highlights of these brilliant farewell opportunities was the 24 Hour Show last weekend, and is in truth the event I’m probably still recovering from – it really takes it out of you! One of my favourite annual goings-on, and one which I fully encourage and any all to go for (even if you’ve no experience in performing, singing or dancing before), it’s a charity fundraiser with an incredibly unique and challenging twist.

As you’ve probably guessed from the name, when you’re in the 24 Hour Show, you’re tasked as a cast member with learning the name of a musical exactly 24 hours before you’re expected to perform that same show! This involves learning the entire thing (including songs, scenes and dances) overnight (who needs sleep, right?!), getting together a costume for it, building the entire set and technical aspects if you’re one of the amazing folks in the staging society StageSoc, and then practicing the material by yourself and in groups, all before watching the show collapse spectacularly in front of an audience’s eyes for charity. If there’s one thing to teach you the value of sleep, practice and getting things done in advance, it’s this show!

It’s also all undertaken for a bit of fun, with no pressure or great expectations on the cast as a result, and this year’s production was no exception. In fact, the show even strangely improved between the first (at 5pm) and second performances (at 8pm, forty-five minutes or so after the first one had finished – no rest for the wicked insomniac performers!), and was actually probably the strongest iteration of it I’ve been a part of, a testament to the talent and dedication of all of those involved. And, of course, when it went wrong, it went really very wrong - and the audiences, all behind us in our battle against sleep deprivation, seemed to love it!

It also proved a brilliant way to say goodbye to performing in Southampton. From a personal perspective, in what’s due to be my final show at the Annex Theatre, on Highfield Campus (a place I’ve probably spent way too much time for my degree’s health!), I was lucky enough to be given a quite unique part: the show’s narrator, with monologues galore and plenty of chances for over-the-top and cheesy characterisation.

However, whereas usually people have to find unique ways of smuggling scripts and line hints (as with no sleep, there’s no way of possibly learning them all!) on stage as part of props or by other inventive means, I was given a script on stage and asked to sit there throughout, raised above the show, with the ultimate goal of keeping it all on course – despite many an accidental attempt to knock it off kilter by confused cast members!

This meant that whenever my fellow actors and actresses struggled, I had the fun of trying to invent a new, but not too obvious (although the audiences guessed my role very quickly!), way of prompting them to keep things on track – my favourite being when a cast forgot they had to take off their jacket, so I had to quickly narrate “Of course, his coat was very wet as well!”. I was even granted the power of restarting an entire song if things went sufficiently awry – and I was delighted to have the chance to do so in the second show, when a number spectacularly collapsed in the first twenty seconds and it seemed the only thing to do!

It was a brilliant and truly memorable way to bow out of SUSU Showstoppers and Performing Arts as a whole alongside many a friend and talented performer alike, and I’m hugely grateful for such an amazing opportunity. The fact that it was all for the incredible Solent Mind charity was just an added bonus, and hopefully we can be proud of the great total we raised for them in having such a lot of fun at the same time – thanks to all involved!

The cast, band, production team and crew of the hectic 24 Hour Show 2015 – thanks guys! Credit: Claudia Ashken

So with performing in Southampton over, I’ve also been working on planning ahead with a goal of having a third and final trip to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, as well as tying up loose ends on the Southampton bucket list I put together at the beginning of the year.

To this end, I had a great time in ticking one particular thing off it quite recently when I finally got the chance to go sailing on the Solent for the first time in four years here, which was a great reminder of how beautiful the city of Southampton actually is. Having said that, my girlfriend and I were on a Jet Viper speedboat at the time, so it was difficult to tell through the spray of the water and the pretty hefty winds hitting us in the face – definitely an experience I would recommend!

Seeing the city from the perspective of a speedboat was a new – and pretty enthralling – experience!

All in all, it’s been another fantastic week or so of celebrations in Southampton, enjoying some memorable final adventures in the city, all the while looking to the future.

So fingers crossed for everyone receiving news soon, be it today (for finalists), next week or even August – I hope you attain the fantastic results you deserve, and we’ll have even more to celebrate in the near future!

Good luck!


Friday, 12 June 2015

A week of fun and farewells

Those of you who have read my blog posts in previous years will know that there’s one particular time of the University year I treasure above all others: that pressure-off, sunshine-laden, post-exam period!

Too close to feel like you’ve no longer an excuse to celebrate, but too soon to really start worrying about the future in earnest (although the terrifying activity that is job searching is still well underway!), the couple of weeks after the end of term always proves a great opportunity to sit back, relax, and appreciate the company of your University friends without that nagging suspicion in the back of your mind that you’ve an assignment due sooner than you thought.

This has always been the case in the past but this year, knowing that this is the last time I’ll be in such an incredible situation in Southampton (as an undergraduate student, at least!), I’ve been determined to make the most of it, heading along to as many of the leavers’ events that have been put on in order to bid a celebratory farewell to some of the magnificent friends I’ve made. I just hope it’s a temporary farewell and I get the chance to come back every so often!

To that end, I write this off the back of one of the most incredible weeks of both social, but also personal, value that I’ve experienced during my four years here, and one which demonstrates just how much there is to do in Southampton, both within and outside of the University. They say that the University years are the days of your lives – and from what’s just happened, I think they must be right!

Wednesday 3rd June – Sports Day & Cabaret 

As someone who’s been lucky enough to really grow to love and participate in both the University’s Students’ Union’s Theatre Group (normal plays) and Showstoppers (musical theatre) societies equally, having been on the committee for both, I’ve made plenty of friends across both groups. But I’ve also experienced the friendly (albeit occasionally fierce, for comedy’s sake!) rivalry between them from both sides of the fence, and so today both groups came together to battle on various sporting fields amidst a backdrop of picnics and glorious sunshine on the Southampton Common (a brilliant public stretch of grass in the middle of the city, where many a summer day is spent)!

Of course, the real fun of the day came in the realisation that none of us were actually very good, so we just enjoyed ourselves! I opted to go for Showstoppers – a year as President for them won out over a year as Webmaster for Theatre Group! – and received fitting amounts of joking abuse when I inevitably tripped over. After some fierce competition in games such as Rounders, an Egg-and-Spoon race, a Ninjas tournament (a classic drama combat game!), Football and Ultimate Frisbee, both groups were left thoroughly exhausted, so we called it a draw!

It was this lack of competitive edge, but presence of friendly rivalry, which made the experience so brilliant, and a reminder of one of an ethos I’ve found across my time at University – we were all there for the fun experience of it, and we all got plenty of it.

The fantastic Promotions Officer for Showstoppers, Charlie, put together a great highlights package of the day – it was one to remember:

In the evening, we then all headed to The Bridge in the Students’ Union building for an evening of songs from musical theatre shows far and wide, as part of our Edinburgh fundraising efforts. Once again there was no pressure to perform well, just to have fun in doing so, and the event was a massive success with us all enjoying some great songs and one another’s company in the excellent venue of the Union. Such relaxed, fun opportunities come around very often indeed in Southampton – so it’s definitely worth heading along and, if you’d like to, giving such things a go!

My friend Ben and I performing an excerpt from The Producers as part of the fundraising effort – it was an awesome evening! Credit: David Aggus

Thursday 4th June – A First Leavers’ Meal… 

Having spent the morning meeting the brilliant new Life at Southampton blogging team, I then prepared to go to the Theatre Group Leavers’ Meal at the swanky restaurant 'The Vestry' in town, serving food which was a far cry from the usual beans on toast at home! With Theatre Group being the society I started with in the Performing Arts, this was very much a chance to say goodbye to my ‘year group’, and as a result some of the closest, friends I’ve had the pleasure to have met here. I’m sure it would’ve been a more emotional evening if we hadn’t made ourselves laugh so much, but regardless, it was certainly a great one!

The Theatre Group Graduates 2015 – somehow I don’t think it’s the last I’ve seen of them! Credit: Billie Naudeer

Friday 5th June - … a picnic, then a second! 

There was no rest for the wicked in the social calendar as, the day after the night before, we were back on the Common for the traditional Theatre Group picnic. This is where the year’s awards are handed out and everyone enjoys the great combination of sunshine and good company, occasionally kicking a football around – although we were too tired after the previous few days to play a proper match!

The Theatre Group picnic was yet another hugely memorable occasion this week! Credit: Joe Buckingham

Immediately afterwards was the turn of the Showstoppers’ Leavers Meal, also at the Vestry – same place, different society, equally amazing evening (although I accidentally made the mistake a few weeks ago of accidentally ordering the exact same meal for both – luckily it was delicious twice)!

Showstoppers awards were also handed out, celebrating the magnificent achievements of various individuals and shows, as well as, this year, those of all the members graduating, which was a great touch by the social secretaries. Personally, I was very much humbled when I was granted ‘Best Director’ for The Drowsy Chaperone and, even more amazingly, ‘Services to the Society’ (particularly given the amount so many other people have contributed to the group), for which I can only thank everyone who voted for me; leading the group was such a rewarding experience, and for no reason more so than because of the effervescent people it encompassed!

It’s been a true privilege and honour, and if there’s one thing that both meals showed me, it’s just how much I owe those whom I’ll be leaving behind when I graduate – visits back are a certainty!

Some celebratory champagne to see off a University career in style!...

...Then back to the Vestry to bid a fond farewell to another set of incredible friends!

Saturday 6th & Sunday 27th June– The 24 Hour Show 

A final, final show in Southampton – and what an experience it was! I’ve written in previous years about what this entails, but it always provides stories and memories aplenty, so to do it full justice I’ll write about it in more detail next time. Sufficed to say: what a weekend, and what a way to bow out in the Annex Theatre on Highfield Campus, a place which has often felt like a second home! If you’re attending Southampton next year, you really have to audition for this show next year!

Monday 8th – Grad Ball 

Last, but certainly by no means least, the night of the year to look your sharpest! I was lucky enough to attend last year with my first set of housemates, so knew a fantastic night was in store, but couldn’t have imagined just how much fun I’d have this time around, celebrating four incredible years with some great friends, reminiscing about the experiences we’ve shared, and all in the company of acts such as, B*Witched and Basshunter – and fairground rides aplenty!

Yet another occasion to be suited and booted, and enjoying the company of departing friends!

And so, following all of the above, I find myself writing in bed, having collapsed with exhaustion, but knowing I’ve certainly made the most of the post-exam period and a week of fun and farewells.
It’s befitting that such a week should see off the end of my academic and performing career here in style.

After all, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt here, it’s that Southampton never fails to give you something to do, see or experience for the first time, and in this way, it’s the people here that truly make the place. – I’m going to miss both hugely!

Thanks for a great week, everyone!


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Moving out of a student house

Wow, time has flown past. It only feels like yesterday when I was writing my blog post on advice for freshers moving into halls and here I am writing about moving out! Where has this year gone?

Last weekend I packed up my student house for the last time and left Southampton, heading home for the summer, before hopefully moving out into a place of my own once I start my graduate job and my girlfriend finishes her masters degree.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself, as that is several months down the line and I wanted to talk about the moving out process, not the moving in process!

My girlfriend and I at a family gathering last weekend, where we were asked a lot of questions about our futures! 

The first thing you should do before moving out is to contact your landlord/letting agency to tell them that you are leaving the accommodation and to ask if there’s anything you need to do before you leave. Make sure you do this plenty of time in advance to give you time to sort any last minute errands out!

The obvious thing to do is to hand in your set of keys, but some landlords may require a house/room inspection before you leave and for you to sign a few documents. It’s normally nothing to strenuous, but if it feels strange make sure you get in touch with SUSU's Advice Centre as they are great for housing help! You can also find out more on the University's Accommodation website.

Naturally it is important that you clean your room and communal areas before you leave - you probably didn’t move into a dump, so don’t leave it that way. The opposite goes for when you move back into a student house, if it hasn’t been cleaned make sure you let the landlord know, as it is not your responsibility to clean other people’s mess!

It is unlikely that everyone will leave the house on the same day, so make sure you clean everything you’re responsible for before you go and offer to help with tidying up communal areas before you leave – don’t just think the last person left will do everything, as if nothing has been done to help them, it probably won’t get done and then everyone faces losing some money from their deposit! If you have lots of items that you no longer need make sure you use SUSU’s new Shift Your Stuff campaign!

On the tidying front, there is one thing that many students forget to do before they leave: the garden! In most housing contracts, unless the landlord does the gardening for you, it will state that you are responsible for keeping the garden, well, garden-like! It doesn’t mean it has to be fit for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, but it should at least be recognisable as a garden, rather than a tangle of knee high grass and weeds!

It’s no landscape garden, but it’s a lot neater than it was! 

If you can’t get your hands on your parent’s or a neighbour’s lawnmower, then it can be done with cheap tools, such as shears or even makeshift gardening equipment! I’ve heard of whole houses cutting rather large gardens with all sorts of bizarre tools. As long the bulk of the garden mess is gone, it doesn’t really matter how it was achieved! I found it to be quite fun...well until my hay fever kicked in anyway!

If you start thinking about moving out a week before you actually leave then the moving out process shouldn’t be too stressful. As long as you’ve left you house in a clean and tidy state, then there should be no issue in getting your full deposit back.

Just make sure you have enough suitcases and boxes and that your car boot is big enough!


Friday, 5 June 2015

What to do after the exams have finished

The wait is finally over and my exams are now a thing of distant memory. This momentous occasion coincides rather nicely with this, my 50th Life at Southampton blog post, which makes this week a very special one indeed!

Unlike previous end-of-exam celebrations (of which I’ve had eight!), this one also marks the end of my degree and my time here at Southampton - all I need to do now is wait for my results and then graduate in mid-July before I will officially become a member of the University’s Alumni community! However, I’m not really thinking too much about that now, because I’m still enjoying the joy that comes from sealing your examination script and then leaving the exam hall for the final time.

Overall I was happy with my examinations and regardless of how I do, I know that I have given my all. This means that I can now relax without any worries or regrets, letting myself enjoy my well-deserved break (even if I say so myself!).

In the immediate days after sealing your last exam you feel an urge to go on a socialising binge, cramming in everything that you couldn’t quite fit in over the exam period. Since I finished mine last week, I’ve tried to do as many things as possible, not only to celebrate the lack of a workload, but also to make the most of my final week here in Southampton!

Straight after my final paper, I made the most of the summer sunshine by playing Frisbee for a couple of hours in the local park with my housemates. It was fantastic to have the chance to enjoy the lovely weather and one of the many green spaces in Southampton, instead of being stuck inside revising! Although when it came to having a barbecue later in the week, the weather, in typical British fashion, didn’t behave itself!

As a house we were trying to decide what to do in our final week together to celebrate four wonderful years at Southampton. We initially decided to do another Come Dine With Me competition, but instead we settled on going out to a few restaurants across Southampton as a sort of farewell food tour, with the intention of ticking off a few places that we were yet to visit, such as the newly refurbished American-style 'Bar Three Diner' in the Students' Union building.

The rollercoasters were no less scary in the lovely weather.

However, our main event of post-exam freedom was a road trip to Thorpe Park, which is only just over an hour away from Southampton by car. We had been talking about such a journey for a few years now and finally the end of fourth year brought about a perfect opportunity to do it. Luckily the weather prevailed (I even ended up with a slight lobster look from the hotter-than-expected sunshine!) and we chose a day where there were minimal crowds, which meant we lost count of how many rides we managed to get on! It was certainly a great way to end our time at University together, especially whilst laughing at our dodgy rollercoaster faces!

My girlfriend and I drying off after a thorough soaking on a water ride. 

I think the answer to the question, “what do you do after the exams have finished?” is a simple one. I would say to reward yourself for all the hard work you have put in over the year and to make sure you make the most of Southampton in the sunshine and all the city has to offer!

Whether it’s a small barbecue gathering, a society trip somewhere or spending quality times with friends, make sure you unwind before starting up again, either for another year at University or out in the world of work.

Happy post-exam celebrations!


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

100 not out, but nearly

Over the past few days, I’ve found that, whenever I’ve been asked, the easiest way to describe the feeling is “weird.” But in truth, it’s also probably the only term I’ve been able to come up with that encompasses the sheer number of the thoughts that have come with finishing my degree last week – it’s difficult to believe that it’s all over!

After seventeen years of education, it’s one of those moments you have never really imagined you’d experience until you’re there in the situation yourself, but I couldn’t have asked for a better rounded, mind-blowing and ultimately more enjoyable experience than that which my course in Software Engineering has provided.

Putting my pen down after my final exam was greeted by firstly a wave of euphoria, a slight tinge of sadness – and then finally a huge wave of tiredness, as I headed home for what seemed like a well-earned nap!

By some twist of fate, the exam took place in the Annex Theatre on Highfield Campus which, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know has been a place I’ve spent probably far too much time in. I had to do my best not to get distracted by the reams of nostalgia-inducing show posters displayed all over the walls! But also quite fittingly, the exam took place just a few days before this, my 100th post for the Life at Southampton blog.

When I first started writing on here and keeping count of my posts nearly three years ago now, I don’t think I expected to be hitting triple figures, but as the experiences, stories and memories have flowed in, there’s been an incredible amount to write.

I’m lucky, therefore, to have had have some kind of avenue through which to write them down and share with everyone just how inspiring a place I’ve found, and continue to find, the University to be - so much so I’m still writing about it after three years.

I wouldn’t really know how to even begin articulating the effect of such a journey, so instead, I’ve tried to summarise a few highlights from each year, although this is really only scratching the surface – please feel free to have a look back through my posts to see plenty more!:

First Year (September 2011 – August 2012):

  • Moved into Montefiore 4 Halls, learnt to budget for myself, bought (and burnt) my first self-cooked food, did my own laundry, and met my incredible flatmates, later to be my housemates of three years.
  • Became overwhelmed by the Students’ Union (SUSU) Freshers’ Fayre and Bunfight, accidentally signing up to over 50 groups – eventually narrowed down to five!
  • Acted at University for the first time, meeting many a theatrical great friend-to-be.
  • Worked on a live SUSUtv broadcast to a national student audience within two weeks of arriving – crikey! – and acted in/presented several others.
  • Took part in a pillow fight flash mob outside the Union.
  • Watched the mighty Southampton FC at St Mary’s Stadium a few times as they gained promotion to the Premier League!
  • Went to the London 2012 Olympics after the end of term – a truly unforgettable occasion.
  • Undertook my first University assignments and exams – with many more to come!

Minutes into arrival at Southampton – I was incredibly nervous!

St Mary’s Stadium matches are rarely boring, to say the least!

Second Year (September 2012 – August 2013):

  • The year when the performing bug really took hold: six shows, including one in the professional Nuffield Theatre on Highfield Campus, along with my first taste of the craziness of the charity 24 Hour Show (exactly what it says on the tin)!
  • Got my first taste of the world of directing a show too – a very different, but equally satisfying experience (if not more so)!
  • Undertook the step-up to Second Year in terms of the course – things get a bit more serious when assignments and exams count for slightly more, so it was great to have some momentum from First Year!
  • Tried stand-up comedy for the first couple of times: a great experience and it seemed to go okay, but never have I been more terrified…!
  • Had the honour of taking part in Open Day talks in the Nuffield Theatre with the Pro-Vice Chancellor – again, terrifying, but rewarding!
  • The absolutely astounding experience of touring to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013: from fundraising in Southampton to rehearsing in July, random trips to Bournemouth beach and film nights aplenty, to actually attending the Festival for the first time and participating in the largest arts event in the world with another magnificent group of friends. This trip really was something! 

Being invited to be part of the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s Open Day talks in second year was a huge honour!

The first Gone Rogue Productions team I toured with to the Fringe, spawning innumerable memories and in-jokes!

Third Year (September 2013 – August 2014):

 The cast and crew of Equus!

 … and that we toured with to Edinburgh 2014!

Fourth Year (September 2014 – Just Now!):

The final Performing Arts Ball with some of the incredible friends I’ve shared University with – thanks guys! Credit: SU Photographic Society

And that’s omitting so, so much more – it really has been a packed Life at Southampton so far, and there’s plenty more to come before I graduate next month!

Freshers 2015/16 and beyond: you have so much to look forward to!


Friday, 29 May 2015

Preparing for several new journeys

I’ve now finished my final exams of University which is really hard to believe! I think part of me still expects my University life to continue as usual after the summer. However, another part of me is preparing for several new journeys and adventures which is a good reminder that many things are about to change and my time at the University of Southampton is coming to an end.

Furthermore, while finishing University is still somewhat difficult to get used to, I have been enjoying celebrating end of exams. I’ve also been enjoying some free time to relax a little; eating out with friends, catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while and saying goodbye…

Many students are already moving back home and, seeing as I’ll soon be leaving for Europe (I’ll be gone for almost 20 days) then shortly afterwards flying to Australia, this may be the last chance I have to meet up with many of my University friends and say goodbye. Time passes so quickly and its times like these that you’re truly reminded of how fast it can go!

When I think back over the past three years, I’m happy that I’ve managed to see and do a lot! I wonder where I’ll be in three years’ time and if I’ll be as shocked as I am now as to how fast time passed!

Anyway, as I mentioned I’ll be leaving for Europe next week which is incredibly exciting. I’ve done a lot of travelling in the past but this will be the most I’ve travelled by train and the longest I would have survived with just one backpack! Packing is proving to be a challenge but I’m sure I can make it work.

In the past week I’ve been busy making final plans for the journey, checking trains, travel routes, things we definitely want to see and do… I really love travelling and I can’t wait to explore new cities and learn about new cultures.

I’ve also been packing up my room and sorting through my things. It’s amazing, I moved to the UK with just one suitcase and an additional bag and now I’ve somehow managed to accumulate over three suitcases-worth of things. My housemate and I will be back from Europe towards the end of June so I’ll have less than a week to prepare for my move to Australia.

I usually don’t think of myself as very materialistic but I have to admit it has been difficult deciding what to keep and what to give away (especially when it comes to my clothes!).

I’ve been taking some time to start thinking about what I want to do with my life now. I have some rough plans but I’m happy to have the next six months to really think about my future (the academic year in Australia is different to in the UK which is why I have the extra time)…and I’m very excited be seeing my family again soon!

Morning exercise on Southampton common, a good time to clear my head. 

In preparation for Europe and all the walking we’ll be doing I’ve also been trying to fit in some exercise in the mornings. Running on Southampton Common has helped to clear my mind at this busy time.

This is, unbelievably, my last blog post for Life at Southampton. I’m grateful to have been given to opportunity to join the team as a student blogger and have loved sharing my experiences at the University of Southampton. I hope you have enjoyed reading about what I’ve been doing over the past couple of years and I wish all new students all the best during their time at Southampton and as well as the new Life at Southampton student bloggers! I look forward to reading about your university experiences.

Goodbye for now, Southampton.