An Open Letter to Undergraduates

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Carys reflects on her time at Leeds as her graduation day draws near.

“University will fly by.” “You’ll be graduating before you know it.” “These three years will go quicker than you think.” 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. At least, that’s what I thought when I kept getting reminded that University would be over in a flash. I hadn’t even moved into my accommodation halls and already it seemed people were warning me that I’d be finishing my degree soon. I mean, seriously? How quickly can three years go? That’s 1,095 days (to put it into perspective). And yet, here I am: about to embark on my last term and I really don’t know how I got here so suddenly. 

With the release of graduation dates, it seems appropriate to feel a little nostalgic about my time at Leeds University. The past three years have blurred into a mix of grunts and groans about 9am lectures, a fusion of lights and DJ sets at four in the morning, elation after getting a great mark back and deflation when I didn’t, hangovers which I thought might actually kill me off, Eddy B library days with my housemates, sunbathing among a mass of students in Hyde Park when the temperature increased a few degrees and lunches, brunches, dinners and drinks with friends who I’ll never forget. It’s been a packed period of my life and I’ve loved every second; even the lows have helped me to progress as a person. 

However, now I am faced with the real world. No missing a seminar because I feel sick after last night’s antics, no  generous student loan entering into my bank account each term. No student discounts (that one is really going to hurt) or living across the road from my best friend. Instead, I am going to have to search for a job, live in a whole new city, find new housemates and even start paying taxes; Terrifying. 

It seems cliché to start lecturing first and second years about how their time at University will be over soon. I don’t want to do that at all. Instead, I want to encourage you to do all the things you may have been putting off. Join a society, start a band, talk to that course mate you’ve always wanted to have coffee with, start writing a blog, go to Ilkley Moor for the day, get your housemates together for a roast, do ANYTHING. 

Because you will never have these opportunities and the free time to commit to them again. 

So, even if you’re just coming to the end of your first year, time will fly by and you’ll be getting that email with your graduation date in your inbox before you know it. And that, I can tell you, is a harsh reality check.

Carys Reid-Davies