My housemate Jack moved out of our student house in Cheltenham earlier. It felt very strange watching someone pack their entire life in to the back of a white van, and then drive off in to the distance.
As I wrote on Facebook when I woke up this morning, it makes the end of uni very real for the first time.
The atmosphere was different in the house this morning. It won’t be long before we’re all out of the house. I don’t think any of us had quite accepted this until this morning, when we woke up to see the sitting room full of boxes, boxes, and yet more boxes.
This isn’t just a case of a member of the household going out the front door to go to work or uni for the day… Jack won’t be back tonight. Or the day after that. No more “Morning, Fred” in a Dartford accent each morning. No more political debates while watching Newsnight. No more putting Martin the (Balloon) Pug in the garden for a laugh. This is the beginning of the end. (In some ways, it’s also the end of the beginning, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t think that far ahead).
It occurred to me the other week that this house is the first of all the places I’ve lived since being at university that I’ve treated as a home, rather than as simply a weekday base, where I keep only the things I need for uni. I’ve interacted with my housemates this year, eaten meals with them, watched TV with them… I think this year, for the first time, I will be sad to move out of Cheltenham and back to Cirencester. To think that when I moved in to the house in September, I didn’t really know Jack that well, and had only worked with Zoe once or twice.
Of course – At the moment we are only one person down, but remember: In a house of 4, that’s 25% of the house overall…and on the basis that I am one of the four, It’s 33% of the people I’ve lived with over the last year…gone…in the space of a few minutes.
Watching someone pack their entire life in to the back of a van reminds me of the day I left home for uni neary 3 years ago. It’s basically the reverse of that. I think everyone’s excited to a certain extent be returning home, but at the same time sad to be leaving behind what has been their life for the previous 3 years.
Of course, I remain hopeful Jack may return to Cheltenham for my final night here, when I’m cooking a big Greek meal. Failing that, it’ll be when we graduate at the end of November.
I’m very aware that it’s now just 3 weeks to the day that I leave Cheltenham – and that once that time comes, it’s 99% certain I won’t see anyone from uni until November. By the time I return from my 6 weeks in Greece in mid-August, everyone will have moved out of their student houses.
I very much hope I won’t have to wait until November to see all my university friends – but I think that will certainly be the next time we’re all together as a group.
(I sent a link to the above song to Jack this morning. Now Jack – if that made you cry, wait until you see which song I’m posting to Dan and Zoe when it’s my turn to leave Cheltenham for the final time).