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A ‘Nectarine’-ly sweet end to the term!

At last, week 8 is on the horizon, dusk is beginning to fall after labs finish, and maybe (if the rain ever stops) spring is on its way. 

To celebrate the close of another instalment of academic chaos, I did what I (arguably) do best – cooked for my friends. On today’s menu: pan-fried salmon on top of spaghetti in a pea and basil sauce, all accompanied with nectarine and mozzarella on top of a bed of rocket.

As my quartet of dinner companions dug into a real culinary treat, we discussed the end of term. The end of term and the beginning of vac is always a tricky one to navigate: should we be sad to be parting ways with our friends or relieved that we survived another eight weeks in the rollercoaster of Oxfordshire’s most hectic and emotional ring-road? 

The truth is, your feelings about this term and its conclusion should be exactly that. Yours. All too often, especially in the highly digitised Zillenial ecosystem, we put too much pressure on feeling what society tells us to feel. For instance, social media portrays University as The best time of your life! Is this echo-chamber of toxic positivity a reality for the majority of students? Probably not.

To be frank, this Hilary, whilst sweet at certain corners, has left me feeling (if we’re running with the nectarine metaphor) a little emotionally bruised and in some aspects, a bit rotten. Am I ashamed that my term has been ‘wasted’ by unpleasant emotional episodes? Of course not. I mean I’m a bit annoyed that the past eight weeks have been marred by internalised emotional turmoil, but that’s part of being twenty and growing up. I am in no way advocating wallowing, rather, I am urging you to accept that your feelings about what is such a tricky term are valid, and more normal than you probably think.

To finish the term is an achievement in itself. Congratulate yourself for merely existing, even if maybe some essays never materialised or some friendships went awry. Reflecting on the past two months, we need to look for the brightness and colour, even if fairly brief, which occurred in our lives. Not to sound like my mother, but we need to practise gratitude. As we pack up our uni lives into a series of boxes once again, it may be productive to reflect on our feelings at the close of term, whilst also seeking out people and experiences which made a very damp eight weeks a little lighter. 

So, as we all crawl to eighth week together, I raise my pint to all of you who have found Hilary not the easiest of times and salute those of you who managed to have the time of your lives in the bitterness of winter. As I run away from OX4 I leave you with the gentle reminder that things only get better from here. Light is coming. Days are extending. Maybe (if the rain ever stops) Spring is on its way. 

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