It’s finally over.
After all those hours spent huddled over a desk in the Robbo, all those 9am lectures that you just about made it to on time, all those seminars you blagged your way through after forgetting to do the readings, it’s all over. You can breathe at last.
However, we all know that those hours aren’t going to be what you remember when reflecting back on your time at university. You may have fond memories of finally finding people to share your academic interests with, or meeting world-renowned intellectuals in your field, but academia is merely one side of your time spent at university.
Yes you have now got a degree from a Russell Group university, but over your time at Newcastle you have gained so much more than just that. What many people don’t realise is just how much you grow in confidence whilst at university. I am no longer the same timid fresher who was scared to put her hand up in seminars. Your university career shapes you; you learn so much more about yourself than you could ever have expected to.
There is a reason why they say “it’s the people who make a house a home”. While we all can agree that Newcastle is arguably the crème de la crème of the North, your experience here just wouldn’t have been the same without the people by your side. Whether it’s your first year flatmates who have had your back since day one, your coursemates who somehow put up with sitting next to you in a seminar for three years, or people you’ve met through clubs and societies, it’s these individuals who ultimately shaped your time at university, and of whom you will have the fondest memories.
I hope that you have enjoyed the opportunities that the Students’ Union has offered you throughout your degree to make friends, develop skills, and relish in new experiences. This year has been an exciting one for the Students’ Union following the national media coverage of It Happens Here’s knicker bunting campaign, NEST’s continued success in supporting refugees, and the opening of both Humpit and Shijo in our very own building. Across the University, this year has been an interesting one too, with many changes to the face of our beloved campus. Students are waiting eagerly to see whether more sculptures will follow the Clasp and the ballerina, how long the Rowan Atkinson banners stay on campus, and just how the Claremont Tower and Daysh Building developments turn out (though sadly we have to wait until 2021 to see the end result).
I feel so fortunate to be in a position where I can spend another year in this beautiful city, surrounded by inspirational people. Admittedly, the prospect of having a job lined up for my first year as a graduate after months of not having any plans is incredibly reassuring, but I am also so excited to have the perfect excuse to stay in Newcastle and at the University. I can’t wait to see how the city develops; will Hadrian’s Tipi ever return, will This Is Tomorrow come back next summer, and will Greggs decide to deploy their ingenious mirror-image logo when the Fenwick’s window is unveiled again? Speaking of Fenwick’s, will this winter’s window display ever be able to rival the brilliance of 2018’s The Snowman-themed delight? We are seeing the city go from strength to strength as a hub for music, arts and innovation, and those of you who have the honour of staying in Newcastle post-graduation will be able to observe first-hand just where this change takes the city.
For those of you leaving this beloved gem of the North and flying the nest, it’s a goodbye from me, but it’s not really goodbye. Wherever your future may take you, Newcastle will always hold a dear place in your heart. These years are, after all, arguably the most formative ones of your life. When returning to Newcastle after a long period away, I always feel a wave of emotion walking down Northumberland Street again; the buskers, the fruit and veg vendors and the sweet smells of Greggs make this street so alive, so bustling, and such a treasure trove of memories. Make sure that you return to Newcastle once again on a sunny summer’s day, and experience that rush of Geordie spirit as you walk down Northumberland Street in its full glory.
Your degree may be over, but the memories will never fade.
Last modified: 15th July 2019