210. As of today, it is exactly 210 days until I graduate from the University of St Andrews. June 26th will mark the end of what has been, undeniably, the best chapter of my life so far. A chapter that I am very much dreading have close behind me. I think the only thought consoling me right now is the faintest glimmer of hope I have that just perhaps it may be the ridiculously beautiful Kate who hands me my transcript. Oh ok then, I’d settle for Wills too…If anyone wants my opinion, I think that their presence at Graduation would make for a rather sweet cherry on the top of our 600th Anniversary celebrations.
Last week marked Thanksgiving, and I spent it in the company of great friends. As a Scots, these past years in St Andrews have truly converted me into a Thanksgiving enthusiast – what’s there not to love? Good food, good company, and an intimacy caused by way too many friends crammed into a small living room. This year has been especially enjoyable, and I can honestly say that I have thus reflected about all I have to be grateful for. It’s the old cliché that states that you don’t always appreciate what you have until it is gone from you. Or in my case, for something that will be whipped out from under my feet in 210 days’ time. I was so lucky to meet my best friends during the first few days of my life at university, and four years later we are still united as the affectionately termed ‘New Hall gang’. It is with this gang (and a few delightful additions) that we joined together with to stuff our faces over the Thanksgiving table.
I know that these friendships will last a lifetime, but I can’t help but feel pangs of sadness at various points throughout this year, as I remember that everything we undertake together will mark our ‘last’. For example, as much as I enjoyed our group effort with the Britney Spears costumes this Halloween, I was eager to implement my suggestion for us to dress up as One Direction next year. Until it dawned on me that by next autumn, my wannabe boy band candidates will be distributed across the globe, undertaking the next chapter of their young lives. And I can’t exactly walk about a party dressed as Niall all by myself – that would just be sad and a little weird.
I guess the one obvious advantage to celebrating events as a fourth year, is that everybody makes such a great effort to make everything that little bit more special. All of our friends braced the horrendous online race to purchase Christmas Ball tickets, ensuring that we shall all be there to share in the wonders that Kinkell Farm and The Black Sheep have to offer us. I’m also sure that our annual Christmas dinner will be bigger and more extravagant than ever, and that our loyal Argos tree (which has lasted us all three years in the flat) will most likely be assembled just a bit earlier than usual, perhaps with a little additional tinsel just for kicks. There is no doubt in my mind that the end of our final Martinmas semester will be the most sparkly of all.
After clearing the Thanksgiving hurdle in all of its turkey glory, the next obvious date for the diary is the Christmas holidays. Disclaimer: I love Christmas. And for the first time in my university career, I can enjoy all that the festivities have to offer without having the constant reminder of the ever encroaching exams looming in the back of mind, guilt tripping me into abandoning my Brussels sprouts in favour of my books. But wait! Instead, I can now relish in the prospect of having to scramble together a dissertation review essay, which just so happens to be due the first day back to term. Bah humbug! I guess those Brussels will have to go cold after all.
The next few weeks of term are horrendous in terms of deadlines, yet I can’t really complain as I have no exams this semester during the allocated exam weeks. Thus, I fully intend to pack myself off down to our nation’s capital and spend a good week with my grandparents before heading home for the holidays. Edinburgh at Christmas time is simply magical, and hands down my favourite city at this time of year. Princes Street is the embodiment of Christmas; the big Ferris wheel, Europe’s largest open air ice rink, the German market huts scattered amidst the Gardens, and the beautiful Castle lit up in the background all make for a most spellbinding view. My most favourite thing to do is grab a hot coffee and a delicious treat from one of the market vendors and walk around at my leisure, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere amongst the quaint wooden stalls, which are full to the brim with hand-made crafts and quirky gift ideas.
As much as I value every day left here at University, I am just as ready to value the extended break spent with my family over the holidays. Who knows, it may be the longest time I have off to celebrate Christmas for many more years to come, and so what better way to spend it then with my nearest and dearest? Oh, by the way mum and dad, did I tell you about the trip to Bruges I’m planning to take with some friends…?