We’re nearing the end of the semester, and myself and my friends are readying ourselves for graduation and Great Beyond. In the spirit of nostalgia, I’m writing this both as a farewell letter to Strathclyde and to pass on a few tips to those about to take my place here. Has it been worth it? Possibly. Would I do it again? Definitely. When I first pulled up outside Chancellors Halls in 2014 I had no idea that I had signed up for more ups and downs than a Ferris wheel. Strathclyde University has been so much more than a place of useful learning (and useless procrastination); I’ve made some of my strongest friendships here, overcame losing a parent here, and in amongst my fair share of mistakes, I’ve definitely achieved so much more than I ever could have imagined here.
Together, we’ve experienced the election of Donald Trump, the Brexit fallout, and Snowmaggedon 2018. I’ve learnt how to sledge using only a baking tray, how to hide a hangover from a lecturer (massive sunglasses), how to survive for a week with a bank balance of £4.60 and still manage to go out, and how to carry a traffic cone through the streets of Glasgow at 3 am on a Wednesday night, without anyone turning a head. I may have learnt some stuff about politics and international relations along the way somewhere, but who’s counting?
In amongst all that, I’ve learnt things that I wish I’d known in my youthful days of year one. No matter how tempting it may be, do not spend half your SAAS loan on a Juicy Tuesday. No hangover is worth that and living on cereal and pasta for the month is not fun for anyone. University is about coming into your own, so try to care less about what other people think. I know this is easier said than done, but when you are your authentic self you will attract your kind of people and this in turn becomes effortless; and trust me, your kind of people are out there, in a campus of 20,000 students there’s no way you won’t find someone to distract in the Library or grind with on the dancefloors of Shimmy. My best decision by far has been to get involved with the sports union clubs; I’ve been to Spain with netball and travelled Scotland with ultimate frisbee, and while I have no talent for either it’s been a great way to make friends. More often than not, your socialising is not limited just to the club you join but also to the wider sports union, especially on Wednesday nights when everyone descends on the clubs of the Merchant City. Student life has come with a unique set of challenges that can be difficult to cope with, but when you’re struggling the university has a diverse range of support services that have been an excellent safety net for myself and many of my friends, from student counselling to the disability service, I’ve found that there is always someone there to listen when you need an extra helping hand.
University, you’re likely to have been told, is the ‘best four years’ of your life. This is not strictly true. Yes, it may come pretty close; and while many of you will cherish your time here, make sure to keep a little perspective, as you’ve come here to open up the future and not to shut it down.
As for me, my expectations for post graduate life lie somewhere between bringing down the Tories or solving gender inequality, all the while earning a wage high enough to guarantee that never again will I live on dry cornflakes for a whole week.
By Claudia Scott