"... I cannot help but still wish that I could have spent more time with my friends before returning back home."Swathi Manivannan

I have been safely nestled away in my home back in Singapore since last Monday, and all I should be feeling is relief that I am well and together with my family. After all, returning back to Singapore for the Easter break was something I had been looking forward to since the start of Lent Term. In fact, I start off pretty much every term counting down to when the next break begins, simply because I know that, for 8-9 weeks, having even an entire weekend to myself is not a luxury I can afford.

Love Letters to Cambridge

These are tough and uncertain times for us all, and a lot of us are left with little closure. Varsity are launching this series to give a platform to students reflecting on the parts of Cambridge they'll miss the most, and to gain some closure through writing. Just email our Features team with a 150-word pitch with your idea!

Yet, part of me still aches to have left Cambridge, even though I have struggled (and still struggle) to assimilate into British society, particularly of the Cantabrigian variety. Even after a year and a half, I still struggle with homesickness every now and then, worsened by the fact that I still have not managed to work around the time zone difference and my timetable to call my family more than once a week. However, despite the struggles, both academically and otherwise, I cannot help but still wish that I could have spent more time with my friends before returning back home.

It seems odd to seek closure, particularly because I still have one more year before I leave for good. But I feel the need to do so, because this period of uncertainty was certainly not what I had in mind when I started second year, hoping for a fresh start to make the most out of what this year could offer me. I hate that, just as I had started to figure out what undergrad life was like and how I could make the most out of my degree, I was lurched into this uncertain world, where one day is not like the next.

"It seems odd to seek closure, particularly because I still have one more year before I leave for good."Swathi Manivannan

Just as I was starting to figure out my place here and actually come to terms with why I was here, I had to change my flight plans and leave for home immediately. I hate that just as I was getting closer to all these wonderful friends I’ve had, I had to make sudden, last minute decisions, with no time to say proper farewells. If you’d told me in October that I would re-book flight tickets back home and pack up all my belongings to put into storage for an indefinite amount of time, all within the span of 2 days, I would have laughed. Yet, fast forward to March, and here I am, typing away, in the small hours of the morning, about a year that no longer seems to make sense.

“just as I had started to figure out what undergrad life was like...I was lurched into this uncertain world”

It’s strange how my priorities for the academic year have shifted dramatically in the past 6 months. From fretting about summer internships, to wondering if I’d be let back into the UK if I went back home, to worrying about whether I could even go back home, and to just wondering what on Earth is going on everywhere, it’s been an insane, trying time. That being said, despite mourning for this year, I cannot help but also think about the wonderful times and experiences I’ve had this year as well.

These past one and a half years have sobered me up to the fantasy that I had built about Cambridge before starting as a wide-eyed fresher. In fact, this year seems to have been the last straw, and all hell has broken loose, with the uglier side of things here showing up. Even now, I cannot help but be furious at how some students have been mercilessly forced to move out of college, a place that should be an abode, a refuge in times of trouble.

Nevertheless, I have still been introduced to wonderful opportunities and the people behind them, who, in many ways, have made my life in Cambridge worthier and brighter. And I am glad that, despite biting off more than I could chew, I somehow made the most out of this incomplete second year, and saw my commitments to completion.


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Mountain View

‘Quietly I am leaving, Just as quietly as I came’

I am grateful that I have had the fortune of meeting wonderful people and calling them my friends. I am grateful that I was able to step out of my home of 19 years to move to a foreign land and learn from my experiences, with my family being supportive every step of the way. All I wish is that I could have had more time and space to cherish all of this, instead of wistfully reflecting about what was. Needless to say, gratitude for the people around me is something that I will bear in mind when I enter third year, to make the most out of a final chance I have been gifted with.

So this is a farewell, to a year that was, but also could have been. It’s certainly been one of the strangest, most stressful years of my life, but I am still grateful for those that made it a memorable year in the wonderful ways that mattered.

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