“I found college life to be an experience that can move in any interactive direction - you can remain detached and live life just as in a hotel, or you can dive in headfirst and turn your life upside down. Finding a balance in how you live college life is not always easy but – in my opinion – it’s an important part of the difficult path towards personal equilibrium. And this is just as important as passing exams! At the beginning I wanted to do absolutely all of the thousands of activities on offer – from conference to sport to language courses to photography)… But with time, I started to understand how to choose not only which activities to take part in but also which people to hang around with, which marks to accept at university and even (although it always remained difficult!) which meals to choose from the vast range offered by the chef! Those who know me also know how many mistakes I made but this, my dear College, is exactly why I thank you – for having given me the chance to experiment with “adult” life and to make mistakes without ever having to fall too hard..
In the College you’re never alone! Even if you have to study, if finally you’ve put your mind to it and decided to open those cursed books, even if you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours… You always know that right next door or along the corridor, there are friends going through exactly the same thing, just dying for some excuse to take a break. And if, by some incredible twist of fate, you’re totally immersed in the mechanism of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, and you actually lose track of time, you can rest assured that there’s someone looking out for you who will come and knock at your door to save you from yourself. Once, twice or many times – it’s never a problem because you will have learnt to appreciate this part of College life. To love how you feel part of a community, where everybody affects each other, where you cook together, make mistakes and learn, where there’s always someone else to help you out.
Different regions unite, different aromas merge and, as each day passes, your evening meal companions become a second family.
“The kitchen was my favourite place: with arguments, jokes and games, it was impossible to go back your room without a smile on your face, even after a hard day at the Poly.
“The College, complete with its residents, every moment of every day, fills our university years with wonderful experiences that we would never have had otherwise. Just think, a study grant to go far away to another “world” to share our summer with those less fortunate than us; or getting up in the morning and finding Christmas presents in front of our door; or the wonderful library where we can borrow academic books as we wish… And that’s not even to mention the friendships. There are people you meet by chance one September morning as you prepare to go in for the College entrance exam. You find yourselves at the same table, you eye each other up and at the end you say goodbye. Then just a short time later, there you are together in the College and you gradually become friends. Some friendships don’t take off immediately but over months, if not years. There are some relationships that never bud, others that last 5-6 years and then end as you wish each other “good luck with your life”. But there also those that last forever – no matter where you end up in the world.
“And once again I close my bedroom window. It’s a daily part of my continued university journey. As I do so, I admire the garden and the twinkling evening lights..
I leave this place that I’ve come to think of as home, to start a new adventure. I leave with affectionate memories of the days spent here, and the many friends that I’ve made, friends who have shared the experience with me. I leave with the same certainty and serenity that you always have when you leave a beloved place, in the knowledge that sooner or later you will return, sure that your experience there will never be forgotten and will always be a part of you.”