Rose Dolan with permission for Varsity

It’s been a week since the countdown to return began. A week since we were leaning against rattling tube doors, ambitiously calculating whether we could realistically see each other just once more. ‘You go back on Tuesday? Maybe Tuesday morning?’. It’s also been a week since I stopped putting clothes away after they came out of the wash and began writing my thank you cards to a slow morning in a double bed, a hob that doesn’t turn off every 10 minutes, and a regular sized toaster.

"It will be deconstructed and rebuilt, unzipped and rehomed for a few more eight week residencies"

But now there’s just 24 hours left on the clock and it’s the same as ever. Somewhat the last one standing, with the majority of my friends having returned to their university towns, I sit on the floor of my childhood bedroom, a small pile of clothes in front of my crossed legs. It’s a starting point, I tell myself, and think back to a friend a week prior wishing for "just a few more days!". A few extra days under my belt, I’m wishing for the same. 

I begin to stack the pile tenuously, unhooking my most worn pieces from my wardrobe, and laying them flat on top, hanger still attached. It’s the obvious pieces that come first. If I’ve worn it most days this holiday, of course it’s language class worthy. I move my attention around my room, impressing myself with my system, and continue to throw my favourite pieces onto the pile, now about calf-height. This fleece will envelop my limbs when I’m reunited with my bike – and, of course, the jeans that seem to work for every occasion get to make the journey between home and CB3. 

"The pile is growing and becoming a layered assortment of my belongings, a patchwork of colours and textures acquired from age 15 onwards"

Briefly waylaid by reading a childhood diary (I wanted to be a perfume maker when I was younger, or a singer that only sang the choruses of songs), I’m back on track. This time, the selection process is slightly more challenging. Perhaps this will be the term I manage to read fiction. The mask I acquired after my New Year’s party might come in handy at some point, and of course the February winds will be harsh enough for me to wear that hat I haven’t touched in years. Add it to the pile. 

The pile is growing, becoming a layered assortment of my belongings – a patchwork of colours and textures acquired from age 15 onwards. The foundations are solid. The fleece can hold it up. The coloured pencils I tell myself I’ll find time to use are somewhat more precarious, but reassure me that, should creative inspiration come to me in Week 5, I’ll be well-equipped. 


Mountain View

New Year’s, the sea, and psychotic Scotsmen

My final task is to zip this pile up into a suitcase, a check-in label from my summer holidays still attached to the handle. The label reads something like Samsonite, but perhaps it would be better described as ‘15kg of my favourite things acquired from aged 15 onwards that leave my room bare and get increasingly niche as you dig deeper’. I compress the pile and drag the well-worn zip around its edges. 

I will hold the pile by its metal handle, tight to my knees and let it rattle along the Greater Anglia railway network for another term. It will be deconstructed and rebuilt, unzipped and rehomed for a few more eight-week residencies. I could get used to this.