How do you sum up four years? Four utterly amazing years.
To be honest, I don’t really have the answer to this question, I don’t think I can sum it up succinctly. Four years of university: to be educated, to gain experience, life skills, time to grow up (well…). They have certainly been fun – there’s no doubting that – and I think I’ve learnt a thing or two (and occasionally something academic), but how do you sum that ‘learning’ up?
I feel that I should probably try through the medium of photography (this is did start life as a photoblog afterall), each representing some memorable point. NB. There are quite a few photos here, but please bear with me, these have been whittled down from (literally) thousands.
John Burnet: The place where it all began
You’re not allowed to drink on the street, don’t you know?
This is from my raisin weekend – in case we were, how do I put it, a little too inebriated to get home…
The Pyramid stage at Glasto 2008 (Watching Amy Winehouse and Jay-Z) – 99 Problems, but the mud (luckily) ain’t one. [Note: Bad grammar, I know, but it doesn’t work otherwise]
Abseiling the Forth Rail Bridge, representing my time on the exec committee of the Charities Campaign. This is me… erm… I mean this is campaign mascot Rory McLion, ecstatic about that he’d just completed the abseil.
Greece: Four go on an epic holiday. The drinks were named after the Seven Dwarves – I will never forget your Greek Birthday and blagging that free bottle of ‘champagne’.
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for ChildReach International – one of the best things I have ever done. And getting to raise £2,500 for others in the process in the process.
St Mary’s Quad: Where I spend most of my days.
The Bute Computer Lab: How I felt for the two years of honours (Aptly demonstrated by Toothamanga, the oven mitt).
Monkeys: My dissertation. It didn’t go very well, but you live and learn. Plus, I got to play with the wonderful capuchin monkeys. (This is Kato, one of the few who participated)
The Champagne Tree – Does this need an explanation? This is actually here to represent the general shenanigans with people and places that revolve around it. How could ‘you up for some bondage?’ possibly mean anything apart from asking if you want to watch some James Bond?
The last Visiting Day – after four years of working with the Admissions Dept. talking to prospective students and parents. Working my way up to Vice Principal – this was a day I’ll never forget. A lot of hard work to get there, but entirely worth it.
Who thought I would ever get this far? Who thought uni would ever end? Somehow it happened, Craig Cockburn BSc (Hons) Behavioural Biology, 2:1
I will happily admit that St Andrews was not my first choice of University. However, with retrospect I am entirely happy with the way things turned out. In fact, I couldn’t be happier.
Perhaps it should be looked at as one big adventure? I’m not saying that there weren’t any tough times – I still have the memories of dissertation/lack of sleep/coffee induced delirium firmly in my head (there is a dance to Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus, who knew?) – but maybe (or perhaps most probably) you need those times to really make you take stock and appreciate those times that you’ll remember when you come to look back on it all with those rose tinted glasses.
I think I was naive when I left home to come to uni. Not entirely without wisdom, but needing to experience a bit more independence. I also think that if you don’t come out of university with more than an academic education you have somewhat missed the point. As well as honing your academic prowess university is there to grow you as a person. Of course the academics are important – after all, knowledge is power – but I know for sure that I have gained skills from all my other experiences and my other follies. And maybe some of these are more important than anything you learn from a book, only time shall tell.
When I first got to the town that I’ve called home for the last few years I never imagined that I would come out of it with friends from all over the world, a different outlook on life (a more balanced, and perhaps – note room for denial – a more mature one), and a set of skills ranging from the ability to manage the bringing in and distribution of £78,000 for charity to not being afraid to stand up to a room of 150 people and tell them precisely what they didn’t want to hear. I didn’t know that I’d learn to ski, find that passion for photography and an enjoyment of exercise (weird, I know). And never did I imagine I’d abseil from the Forth Rail Bridge, climb to the highest point in Africa, or find a town that I will forever adore for helping me have four years of my life I will never forget.
St Andrews, I have now left you, but I have not said goodbye. You have undoubtably helped me to grow, but now I have to go into the wider world and act like a grown up (one can always hope – my parents certainly do). It is time to make my own way. So thank you St Andrews, thank you for the hard times, and especially for the good. But don’t worry, I doubt it will be long before I come back to visit because it’s true, you will forever have “that uncanny knack of feeling like home”.