From Paris to Leeds: fourth year begins

It’s October, so the countdown to Christmas has OFFICIALLY BEGUN. Me at my happiest is pending. I cut off 12 inches of my hair, I’m eyeing up any Facebook event that mentions the words “pumpkin” and “Christmas market.” Joy and warmth and festivity is incoming.

Before all that, though – fourth year is hard. I only have 6 hours of Uni a week as opposed to the 40 hour week I was doing in Paris, but everything feels more stressful. You can’t switch off in the evenings.  I have to read a book a week, do French grammar again (what is a verb?), and my dissertation is looming over me like a scary, cursor-blinking bailiff.

I expected it to be a little weird being back, but I was bewildered coming from Paris and straight into Leeds. Maybe it was the time apart, or maybe it was just a bout of amnesia, but everything baffled me. Why is everyone called Amelia or Sophie or Freya, why do they all wear headbands à la groovy chick and dad fleeces and flares and fat Styrofoam Fila’s and the exact same coat? I shit you not, I was drying my hair in the gym when a posh blonde girl called “Tabby” spoke about both her holiday to Thailand and ket in the space of thirty seconds. Where are all the Paris girls with eyebags and red lipstick, salads and the lingering smell of nicotine? And where do I fit in?

It took two, yes two, nights out in Freshers week before I got the flu and resigned myself to the sofa, watching Graham Norton re-runs and eating many bags of quavers, deciding that I was too old and weary for Uni life anymore. The novelty of being back lasted for approximately a week, before I rubbed my eyes and looked around properly. Leeds is a bit dismal after twelve glorious months in Paris.

I sound miserable, but it’s definitely not all doom and gloom. I’m minutes from the Hyde Park Picture House, the most glorious cinema with £5 student tickets; I live with three brilliant girls who love Strictly Come Dancing as much as I do (Seann Walsh you straw-haired ratbag); I’m loving my modules so far and have slotted back into “learning” far quicker than I expected to; I won a free Wagamama chilli squid after pretending to be in first year at the freshers fair; I’m back with my one true love, the ever-overpriced but irresistible Bento King (soz Niall). We also hosted a dinner party in our flat, because nothing says “fourth year” more than home-made baba ganoush. Big dip energy if I ever saw it.

I feel like I only just got back, so I guess people were right when they say that final year will pass in a flash. Just don’t mention the words “grad job.”

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