This week has tested my sentimental tendencies to their very limits. For someone who hates goodbyes I’ve had to say far too many as I prepared to leave Uni for the summer. Hugging my friends and exchanging some kind words was moving at times but strangely enough the thing I found most tricky was packing up my room. I’ll see my friends in a few months but I’ll never again walk into the room that has become my home.
Boxes of unnecessary stuff I should never have brought with me in September and random bits and bobs collected throughout the year were squeezed effectively into my parents car yesterday morning. Staring at the Tetris of my things, all neatly stacked up, some more precariously balanced, I couldn’t help but feel overcome with sadness.
My Uni room may have had bare brick walls (some may say prison-like, I prefer ‘alternative’) which happened to be so thin you could hear your neighbour sneeze and they could hear your ‘bless you’ in response. It may have only allowed so little light that I had to practically stick my head out of the window with a mirror to do my make up and the pipes may have made some very strange noises during the winter months. It may not have allowed for much cat-swinging and dust may have collected the second I turned my back after wiping a surface. It may not have been exactly luxury but it was mine. It was a year of my life, of independence and growing, of deep late-night chats, of countless amounts of stress-tea-drinking, of laughing, singing and dancing to HSM and Olly Murs. I’ve felt so many emotions in that room. It felt mine.
But the hardest thing about halls at Uni is that your home for a year is just that, a home for a year. No longer.
You probably think I’m a bit bonkers, getting so attached to a room. Whilst I admit to being a bit bonkers I will never be ashamed of my sentimentality. Moving house last summer was a really strange and challenging experience and now the nagging ‘but I don’t want everything to change’ mentality is kicking in and I’m having to fight it like crazy.
I know of course that it is just a room, a space where memories were made. In September it will be filled with the belongings of a fresher who will continue to accumulate their own random collection of keepsakes that will clutter the shelves and, no doubt, gather a whole lot of dust. It will be their home for a year.
I’m learning more and more that being sentimental isn’t a weakness. I will never miss an opportunity to flick through some old photos, take a glance at my school leavers book or riffle through my memory box. If you need further evidence of how sentimental I am here you have it: I kept all my GCSE revision in a colour coordinated folder and it still sits under my bed. I’m sentimental and proud.
The best thing about our sentimentality is that it is completely unique. No one can look at an old memento of a past cinema trip or holiday and feel exactly how you feel when you look at it. An old photo will never stir up exactly the same feelings and memories in you as when you show it to another person. Your sentimentality is yours. So if you’re packing up to move out of Uni halls, or perhaps in a couple of months you’ll be packing up to head to Uni yourself, let yourself feel that process.
Perhaps you see moving as transporting your stuff from one place to another and feel very little else about the process, and that’s absolutely fine. If, however, you’re anything like me then I want to tell you that it’s ok to be a little anxious about what’s to come and perfectly normal to take some time to reflect, breathe and let yourself become a little emotional. You aren’t a robot and I will always endorse a good cry from time to time.
So do you, be as sentimental as you are but keep moving forward because I promise there’s even more to look forward to than what you leave behind.