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21 years of (often hungover) existence, various hobbies, excellent friends later and you have Clare Dyckhoff, BA. Three years of studying a degree in English remain some of the best spent years I have had in my relatively minimal life so far.
Always one for nostalgic moments, there is not a day that goes by when I don’t utter the words “Back in Liverpool *x,y and z happened*, *x amount of drinks were drunk before falling under the sofa*, *my friends and I did this, this and this*…those were the years” in some shape or form. Now do not get me wrong, I am not sat here typing this on a type writer, about to scan into the computer to upload feverishly while waving my dated walking stick at you youngsters, or otherwise known as Undergraduates. I love student life, I love students, despite the negative review we get often from various “higher power” people. I love University life. However…being a Postgraduate has fuelled this academic love even more, and I for one am not ashamed.

I cannot speak for everyone, naturally, but deciding to go to University was something I had set my heart on ever since year 8. Admittedly American sitcoms and endless showings of the Gilmore Girls often helped this ‘college’ fantasy. Until you wake up….in year twelve, in a Philosophy lesson questioning why we’re here…while I’m considering why “I’m still here” and not planning my future like the good student I should be. Gaining my place at The University of Liverpool was fantastic, and to this day remains a hilarious and excitable memory, despite the painful parting of my favourite anklet I’d bought in Turkey that summer by running down the stairs screaming so fast it broke apart into pieces, almost like my feelings towards finding out my A Level results, I didn’t care, all I knew is that I was in…to a University that I adored and was on a three year path to becoming Clare Dyckhoff BA.

They say that you can make the best of a situation if you try hard enough, and I know that in the context of University life this is very much a true statement. Best friends of mine left their first universities if they were unhappy, and upon starting a new University for the second time are, three years on, volumes happier.

It will be interesting to write this post, 2 months in to my course at my new life as a part of Durham University, and compare with how I’m feeling in September 2013, after 12,000 words on Jazz music and the poetry of Langston Hughes has been handed in and bound, and many tears and beers have been exhausted equally. What I can  say for now is that I’m finding being a student the second time round far better and that the term “time goes so fast” gets truer with each evening that I spend in my beloved college Postgraduate TV room. Perhaps it is the combination of knowing how fortunate I am to be studying for another year when compared to close friends who can’t afford to do so or haven’t found the right course for them. It could also be the contribution of knowing that a year goes fast and that it is high time to make the most of every opportunity…working, studying, engaging in a topic you love and enjoy, getting involved in leadership, attending musical societies, writing as much as you can, and yes, this does include utilising the college bar most nights, it’d be rude and wasteful not to after all.

Studying a BA is great, or a BSC, or whatever the discipline you are in, and I hope whoever reads this relishes their time at University, after all with the new introduction of £9,000 fees, there must be more to student life than just scraping by each day, picking up the remainder of your dignity, reputation and alcohol-free-brain cells. Then again, I may have just been describing my Freshers week in that last sentence.