Around this time last year, I came to Southampton with no expectation at all. I knew I’d have a whole lot of things to experience, but never have I ever imagined that this year would be the best year in my life. I thought I would spend a year of meeting people with lots of traveling, but little did I know that I’d grow to love these people and this place SO much that leaving it would be a lot more painful than I imagined.
Compared to the other places — apologies in advance to fellow Sotonians — Southampton is downright ugly. I won’t sugarcoat it by saying it’s beautiful, because it’s just not. The park is nice and the city center is just okay. But other than that, this city has nothing else to offer. It’s even listed among the cities in the UK with the highest crime rate (with most of the things happen at Southampton Common, which is why it’s dubbed as the Forbidden Forest of Southampton). In hindsight, I wouldn’t have loved Southampton if it weren’t for the lovely people, who made my time here remarkable, to say the least. I owe a great deal to them, to whom my bottomless thank you goes to.
This year has been a big surprise package for me. Going to places I’d dreamed about for years, making friends and getting really close with them, going to some best and unforgettable concerts, trying out new things, and so on and so forth. The list is endless. I’ve spent the last year loving every single moment here, even the bad ones. My happiness has been so palpable to my family and close friends, that even they realize how much I enjoy my time here without me telling so. If I could do it all over again, I would. Of course, there are times when I regret doing this or that, wishing I could’ve done it better. Those are some lessons to be learned, but the rest are splendid. My resolution this year is to try as many things as possible and not have I-wish-I’d-done-that regret, and for most of the time, I make it.
(photo by Southampton University Photography Society)
The colors are changing at the temperature gets colder now, just like it was the first time I came here. The other day I passed a bunch of freshers who were going to bloc parties, and I couldn’t help feeling a pang of envy. They don’t know how lucky they are to be starting something so wonderful, just as I’m about to end it. It feels like I just came here a couple of weeks ago, and now already I submitted my dissertation. This place feels different and same at the same time. The Stags looks and smells like usual, the campus looks like it was in the fall last year, but I completely realize that I know fewer people than I did last year. Last week I said goodbye to no less than four people and that was one of the hardest weeks here. For the past few months my friends and I have been asking the same question, ‘How come it’s July/August/September already?’ and now we’re at the end of it. I know what people say, time flies when you’re having fun. But honestly, now it flies scarily faster than ever.
In the past one year, I’ve grown in so many ways with more knowledge, more experiences, and more friends from all over the place. I’ve learned a lot of things during my time here, things I probably wouldn’t have gotten somewhere else. One year might be too short for me to try a lot of other things that I want, but it’s definitely more than enough to forge friendships that I know I’ll always cherish. And thanks to these people, this year is definitely the time I’ll always look back at with such fondness. I’ve always struggled with goodbyes, and this time is no exception. Before this I always relied on the saying ‘It’s not goodbye, it’s see you soon,‘ as it was the only thing that could comfort me about farewells. But now knowing the odds of meeting them all again, I hate to admit that ‘All good things must come to an end‘ might be more apt now, although I’m hoping for another chance to meet them again sometime in the future.
So here’s to bidding farewell to an incredible year full of love, memories, and many things.
Thank you for this wonderful year, Southampton! :’)