One trip back to university, several realisations

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The past few weeks haven’t been what I would call a great time. They’ve been long, stressful, sleep deprived, frustrating and largely disappointing and I’ve needed reminding almost constantly that the glass should always be half full. I haven’t had the time or spare energy to maintain any hobbies, including this blog and my beloved running/exercise regime has been non-existent. Gloomy Lauren is gloomy.

However, I am refusing to let stress and all the non-joy that comes with big adult decisions and processes ruin any more of this year. You will be a good year 2017. You bloody will. (I guess I’ll have to also work on not watching the news 24/7 to make myself believe it’ll be a good year).

With all the stuff we’ve had going on, the trip I took back to uni with Dan about a week ago hasn’t really come back to the front of my mind until now. We were asked by an old tutor of ours who we’re still in contact with if we would come back and take part in an audit of the department we studied under for our journalism degrees, which we happily agreed to. We both had, and I think I speak for most of my good university friends from my course here, a really good higher education experience. We loved our course, had sociable tutors and lecturers, a great balance of practical work and theory and brilliant people to learn with. Obviously this was all helped along massively by VK Pineapple, cocktails from saucepans, mass sleepovers and many Thursday nights spent watching indie bands and dancing til 2am. It was better than I had ever imagined uni would be when I was younger and getting stressed about filling in UCAS forms online and being put on hold by student finance for all of eternity.

Going back last week meant walking through the town we spent so much time aimlessly wandering, past the pubs we spent more money than we had in and then all the way through the campus. It was weird. More than weird actually, and the nostalgia level was through the roof. Peering into the canteen we used to buy coffee from and passing the courtyards we sat in and rooms we learnt in felt like a trip to someone else’s life. Like something that happened to someone you know really well from hearing stories over and over again- it just didn’t feel like that person was me. I guess that happens over time and especially when so much has changed. As part of the audit we were asked about our jobs, how life is panning out, what we took away from the course and carried with us into post-uni life and about how ready we felt to take on the real world after graduation.

What it really gave me, apart from a glass of good red wine and chance to go back to my old pub haunt and feel outraged that it’s now gastro and fancy, was a chance to remember I’ve done okay. The start of 2017 has felt so frustratingly lame compared to what we had imagined, that I started to feel like nothing in my life was what I wanted which is a slippery slope to start falling down. This little trip down memory lane helped me realise that I am a functioning adult with a good job and I no longer drink from saucepans (sadly) because I’ve built a life and a career and for the most part, things have gone smoothly. I just need patience and deep breaths and a sunnier outlook on the rest of this year and I think everything will be fine. Thanks KU for the degree and the friends and the great cheese baguettes and for still letting me know that life is good all these years later.

Happy place memories. (Mine is a house, FYI)

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I credit this to the new Facebook memory thing, that chucks a photo at you of times gone by and lets you share it with everyone and have a good old reminisce. It’s all very nice and nostalgic (until you see a photo of you passed out in Magaluf) and it’s made me realise I 100% have a happy place memory. It’s pretty nice to just be able to cheer yourself up while laying in bed just by thinking about something. I’m not talking about just remembering a good occasion, I’m talking a full on happy place in my brain. I reckon most people have one.

Mine’s a house.

To be more specific, it’s a house Kingston-Upon-Thames and it’s on Hawks Road. You should all go there because it’s amazing and you can get out of date Cornettos in the best corner shop ever. Obviously, Hawks Road, as it’s affectionately known, was a student house. The house that homed a couple of my best uni friends and boyfriend. A house where people generally came to for the purpose of getting drunk by drinking concoctions out of saucepans with about 10 straws chucked in. We also liked to fill measuring jugs with Port and WKD. It was a great time to be alive.

There’s basically not much else that lives in my brain, apart from childhood and family times, that can cheer me up as much as just thinking about that house. Marmite stained sofas, miscellaneous feline guests, a toilet that growled, a secret shower, house parties that resulted in indoor rivers, dancing on chairs, inspections from housing officer Sharon. OH THE MEMORIES ❤ ❤ ❤

That cute little house holds some of my happiest times. There’s not one particular event that stands out, it’s much like the list above, just endless good times. Ridiculous, drunken nights, watching entire TV series in one sitting, cooking disasters, really good dancing, dinners made solely of Yorkshire puddings. I think I could sit and write a dissertation length post about how much I loved and still love that house. It’s not just me either, it’s a place that loads of people associate with happiness. It’s obviously the people that made those couple of years as amazing as they were, and I’m so grateful that I met such amazing friends circa 2009/10, but I’ll always capture it all in my mind by thinking about the house it all happened in.

It’s become a pick-me-up and just thinking about it reminds me that life ain’t so bad, particularly when I’m feeling down on my luck. I will no doubt bore my future teenage children with stories that start “back when I was a student we had this house….”

So yeah, happy place memories are important and I’m glad to have such a bloody wonderful one.

Cheers Hawks Road, I love you babes.

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10 Photos that perfectly sum up what I miss about university

I had a dream last night I was back at uni and had to cook 10 jacket potatoes before a night out for people to take to an exam the next day. Casual. I miss uni. What a babe of a time. (sorry friends)

1) Getting ready for a night out was so much more than pre-drinking and make up

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2) Cleaning was something you made fun, rather than a chore. Best done at night, under the influence slightly

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 3) The gourmet diet

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4) The varying and exciting modes of transport because cars were way to much of a luxury

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5) The strong emotional bonds made with corner shop staff. There wasn’t just tinned meals and Cornettos, there was emotion.

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6) Squats and night out exercise: anytime, any place, and you absolutely did not need a gym membership

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7) Life knew no boundaries. Literally. (apart from money obvs)

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8) Accessories and free things were a bloody great reason to celebrate, just as much, or even more than birthdays and dissertation hand-ins.

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9) Harry Potter high fashion. Because LIFE.

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10) Any surface= nap opportunity.

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