Our journey has come to an end, my foray into student journalism is about to close, and with it my final Michaelmas at Oxford. I face the final curtain, and so as this chapter of my life comes to an end, I take this time to solemnly reflect on a tumultuous term, this my last public ponderance.
From spy-rings to fashionistas, from debauched OUCA to issues of identity, the topics of this term have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. So is the way of life, a meandering path of unknown turns and obstacles, of unexpected challenges and unplanned for joys – anarchic and unpredictable, sometimes you simply have to go along with it. A man should not be defined by his ‘plan’ and rigid schedule, but instead the manner in which he overcomes the obstructions with which he is presented, how he cuts through the Gordian knots that life creates.
Young and ambitious, I arrived like every fresher with that Olympian feeling – welcomed into a bastion of success and hotbed of privilege and opportunity. I may leave slightly burnt by my expectations and bruised by my ambitions, some dreams may be in tatters and others altered, but I would not change a thing. I have traded in naivety for realism, but my dreams and values remain untainted. Like everyone, for a while I lost myself in the dreamy spires, I succumbed to the temptations of a false paradise, but in the end we all come full circle. If there is anything I have learned, it is be true to yourself, to your values and most important of all, however you chose to live, do it your way.
Michaelmas of your first, or final year, is a definitive stage of development. The first marks a break from your old life as you are swamped by what Oxford has to offer. The final marks a second break, now you look into the fogs of life after the bubble, faced with the escape from a gilded cage. They are the bookends of your student life. Make the most of your time here, frolic in your errors and rejoice in your mistakes, never be ashamed of being who you are. I may face uncertainty, I may not know what lies ahead, but I can be reassured, looking back and knowing ‘I did it my way’.
Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, goodbye – and from Yorkshire tarra.