Sunday, 13 July 2014

My Reading University Bucket List

I have spent longer than average at university, so, understandably, I have become rather attached. Therefore on entering my fourth year, I came up with a list of all the things I wanted to achieve/visit/do before my wild student days were over and I moved away. Check them out.

Buy a hoody
Bit of a boring one to start off with but necessary to cling on to those student days. I did in fact discover that I already have a University of Reading hoody which I bought via a society in second year. So rather than waste my money on another one I thought I would purchase another item of clothing. I decided against a t-shirt as I have so many old open day ones. Instead I went with a beany hat. Kind of cute I thought =]

Go into Cemetery Junction at night
Cemetery Junction is a creepy high walled cemetery at the bottom of my road. It is completely enclosed and surrounded on all sides by main roads leading out of Reading. And it is a slightly weird place at the best of times, let alone in the dark. 1 man point for me =]
I decided to go there on a dissertation break in April at about 8.15 so it wasn't quite dark yet but it was getting there. It was pretty cool, some of the graves were so so old and really ornate. But with lots of overhanging trees and darkness that came on really quickly, it became so creepy. Plus when we were leaving, we realised that it technically closed at 8pm so we could have easily been locked in. I could think of nothing that would be frighten me more!

Write for every issue of the student newspaper this year
I write for four sections of our university newspaper, Spark* - Film & TV, Arts & Books, Travel and Fashion and on top of that, I edit the Film & TV section. It slightly takes over my life and I am proud to say I managed to write a grand total of 17 articles this year (not including exclusively online ones), appearing in the 10 issues that were published across two terms.

Get with 5 guys in one night
A silly one to embrace my epic on-going single-ness...up until this point, I had only managed three but on Valentine's Day I managed the full 5...it was easy really, picking that particular night was cheating. Those desperate guys would get with a warthog.

Visit Sonning
A pretty little village about 10 minutes from where I live. Me and my housemate went to visit it, one afternoon after we had had a stressful day in the library. We accidentally went on a five mile walk along a river, and across a number of fields. Quite tiring but definitely nice to breathe some country air for a change.

Have a meal in every restaurant on the Riverside
The riverside at Reading is absolutely packed with bars and restaurants, so it was my aim to visit every single one before I left. And I have almost almost managed it. Out of the 23 restaurants/coffee shops, I only had 2 left to go - Giraffe and Brown's. And I have been in Giraffe to have cocktails, so it was just Brown's really. Which I did visit back in the second year when it was New Orleans so I kind of made it to them all. By the skin of my teeth.

Visit the Madjeski Stadium
I am not a particular fan of football which meant I didn't actually achieve this one...but I did go to Twickenham and that is definitely way cooler. So I think I win actually =]

Go to Royal Ascot
I went two years ago and had a fabulous time, but this year we stepped it up a notch and paid to go into the Grandstand. It was a really awesome day, very hot and I became so sunburnt. But fun nonetheless. We had a great view of the racing, saw the queen, had fish and chips and Pimms (how much more English could we have been) and ended the day having a singsong around the bandstand.

Explore every inch of campus
My job as a Student Ambassador helped with this a lot and I managed to enter most buildings/halls at least once throughout my time here. I did feel that by my fourth year, I knew this place really well. Parts of it are so lovely and I felt extremely glad that I was able to study here.

Have a starter, main course and pudding in three different restaurants in the same night
Quite a silly one but I have always always wanted to do this. And with the Riverside making it so easily accessible to move from one to the next, I thought it might be the best time to do it. Alas, nobody shared my restless aim so I haven't had a chance yet but I am still determined.

Attend a jazz night
I always liked the idea of jazz nights, and how laid back they are...I ended up going to one when I was in Madrid at New Year and it was fabulous, even though I couldn't understand what they were singing about. So although this wasn't actually achieved in Reading, I did still go to one, so I think it still counts.

Spend 24 hours in the library
There was a massive campaign to make the library 24 hours in the exam season so I thought I should take advantage of it at least once. Even though I hate the library and it drives me nuts. But I didn't make this one. My hatred was just too much. The most amount of time I managed was from about 8am until 9pm. I couldn't handle any longer, I was starting to go loopy. There are some students who live in there. And I mean actually live. They have sleeping bags under the desks and keep a toothbrush by their intense pile of books. I think that's taking academia a little too far. Get a life and have a beer.

Complete placement, dissertations x2, exam
Just about made it through all of these. It was tough though and I cried a lot throughout each one. I don't think I have cried so much ever. But I have done it and I am out the other side. Can not quite believe it.

Go on a date once a term
My friend told me that I am too flitty and I should try actually getting to know guys rather than just friendzoning them/getting with randomers in clubs...so he instructed me in the spring term to try and go on a few dates while I still had the social side of university at my fingertips.

Have a picnic in the Harris Gardens
The Harris Gardens is a pretty little garden in the corner of campus, hidden away behind the science blocks. I love it there, it is literally one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Reading. I spent a lot of time there this summer, trying to take advantage of its gorgeousness while I still could. And I spent the morning of my 22nd birthday here, eating breakfast and reading. So that's this aim ticked off.

Sing at an open mic night
I am a keen singer and have been part of the Singer Songwriter society for a couple of years but my problem is I am unbearably shy. I have attended so many open mic nights supporting various musical friends, it seemed a bit ridiculous that I didn't try and perform myself at least once. But as it turns out, it turns out my shyness took over a little bit and I never plucked up courage to do it. I will have to practice a bit and actually achieve this one - I am determined.

Attend the Henley Regatta
Another pretty place that I wanted to visit. That's the good thing about Reading. Although it's not that pretty itself, it's surrounded by absolutely gorgeous places. I went to the regatta on the Sunday so got to see all the finals which was cool. And my god, are those men hot. Those arm muscles. It was a really nice day, sat chilling in the sun and drinking Pimms. I also felt like I learnt something because I attended with a friend who rowed in the Durham team and she explained lots of different aspects of the rowing that would have passed me by otherwise.

Visit the three museums on campus
I am not sure how many universities can actually say that they have a museum, let alone three so I thought it would be silly if I didn't visit them.

The Museum of Rural Life is right next to the campus which I studied on and holds all of the education degrees so we went there a lot. And I hate to say it, but it's very dull. However, it does have some rather cool archives which holds, among many other books, a first edition of Alice in Wonderland. Nothing to do with Rural Life, but pretty awesome for the literary nerd in me. The next one is the Cole Museum of Zoology (pronounced Zoo-oh-lijee as I had to explained to my friend, not zoo-lijgee as she thought, the plonker) There was a mammoth tusk which was pretty cool, a full skeleton of an elephant (which actually I expected to be bigger but maybe with the ears, they would have scared me more) and a real human skeleton too. Hopefully they are not murdering students to get that particular exhibit. The final museum was the Ure museum of Greek Archaeology and I didn't make it into that one, because on the occasions I attempted to, it was either filled with Classics Students or was shut. Sad times.

Get with a member of staff
A silly one that one of my friends dared me to do because in first year I had dated a lecturer. I  never actually achieved this one either but I think that's due to the fact that the member of staff would have probably been sacked if they had. I don't really know the rules on this one but I will let it slide.

Pick up a free condom at the union
On the front desk in our student's union is a tub of free condoms...which is kind and all that, but they do place the tub embarrassingly near the member of staff sitting at the desk. Hence why my friend dared me to do it :D Again I have no balls and did not manage to do this. Bit too self conscious.

Go to all four summer balls
Our summer balls are all night long and pretty awesome with funfair rides and star acts. I am very proud to say that I did make it to all of them and lasted until 6am at two of them (first and third year). Second year was a pathetic effort and I only stayed until about 3.30. And then this year I was feeling my age a lot so although I made it to the survivors photo, I couldn't quite hang on until 6, instead leaving at around 5.40.

Don't go insane
Unfortunately this one I didn't manage to achieve...I am definitely now totally nuts.

Graduate
I made itttttt. Without having too much of a breakdown and with a passable grade - this time last year (and at multiple points during my fourth year) I didn't think this would ever happen. But it did so I went up on to that stage to shake our VC's hand. And I managed to do that without either falling down the steps, up the steps, on to the VC or tripping over my own feet. A feat that I am potentially more proud of than the degree itself. Happy days. And here endeth my four years in Higher Education.

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