From Welcome Week to Graduation - Highlights of My Three Years at Lancaster
by Maddy Frost
The housemates I have had over the last three years have been possibly the best thing about university for me. From the day I moved into my townhouse to the day I moved out of my final flat, my housemates have always been my closest friends and a supportive network of people I could go to if I wanted to laugh, cry or simply take late-night trips to Spar for chocolate (this happened a shameful amount).
We would go on nights out together, visit each other in our home towns and have game nights with a takeaway (no one is more easily persuaded than a group of students hearing the phrase “Chinese?”).
Welcome Week was a week I will never forget, and the friends I made in that week have lasted throughout my university experience. Being away from home was a different feeling for everyone and so we formed our own little family and had our own celebrations for things like Halloween and Christmas. Even in second and third year when the workload gets a little heavier, we always made time for events like the college Christmas Ball where we could all get dressed up and have a sophisticated Christmas dinner after a long first term. However, our homemade Christmas dinner was still one of the best I’ve ever had - sorry Mum.
In Welcome Week I had scoped out the Snowsports Society because I had always skied with my family before university and thought it might be a good way to make friends outside of my housemates. I thought I would take a risk and book on the annual ski trip without knowing anyone that was going. It turns out lots of people did the same thing and I spent the trip skiing and après skiing with a new group of mates. I went on the trip every year and would spend the week skiing and partying in the mountains with my friends and making some unforgettable memories.
In my third year, I joined County College Netball Club. I trained and played with some of the loveliest girls I’ve ever met and went on themed weekly socials where we could dress up and head to Sugarhouse for the night. I went from being a St Trinian to a mermaid to a dolphin trainer and everything in between! It was some of the most fun I’ve had at university and a great way to let off some of the stress of the third year.
Although I never participated in Roses I went to watch it every year, with my first and third Roses taking place in York and my second in Lancaster. When Roses was in York, myself and my housemates made the trip to support some of our friends in their events.
Although sleeping on lecture theatre floors wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, it was totally worth it for an amazing weekend filled with plenty of wins. The best of the three years was experiencing a home win in Lancaster. It was one of the sunniest weekends we had for a while and that made watching Lancaster lift the Roses trophy even better. To read more about Roses, check out Tom's blog about Roses 2019.
Although perhaps one of the most challenging parts of university for me, my course was the most rewarding (after all, that’s what we’re all here for). In my second year I made some friends on my course and we all ended up being really close, helping each other out when we were struggling, going on nights out, and even taking group trips to Preston for a Nando's fix.
When writing my dissertation in my third year, it felt like the library was my new home and the long hours took their toll. However, I would do it all again after the feeling the pride and relief of handing in my dissertation. Being able to share that with my course mates was a great feeling and the boost we needed before final exams. Unfortunately, this did mean two solid months of revision and hard work. But again, it was all worth it for the feeling of seeing the results. By what felt like some kind of miracle we had achieved the grades we wanted and celebrated the Lancaster way by heading out to Sugarhouse.
As much fun as I had throughout the years at Lancaster, exams still came around and every year one of the things that kept me going was the anticipation of the next event on the social calendar- EXTRAVS.
In my first and third year my housemates and I did the impossible and managed to get tickets to three extravs, all with different themes. In first year this was Fylde (Fylde-chella), County (Countiki) and Cartmel (The Great Gatsby) and in third year, Grizedale (End of the World), County (Under the Sea) and Furness (Grease).
Extravs are the parties thrown by each college at the end of the year. These were easily my favourite events of university because I was surrounded by so many of the friends from across the colleges and had the relief of completing my exams, and in my final year, the achievement of finishing university!
After a short recovery after extravs, it was time for the day we’d all been waiting for. After getting suited up in our gowns, our friends and families had the chance to meet and chat over drinks before we went into the Great Hall to officially graduate!
The walk from one side of the stage to the other to shake the Vice-Chancellor’s hand seemed daunting. However, it was over in a flash, and before I knew it I was an official graduate of Lancaster University! It was a proud moment looking at myself and my friends and how far we had come in our time at Lancaster. My family and I had some professional photographs done as a keepsake for the day then enjoyed some celebratory champagne before they left.
I then went on to watch my friend’s afternoon graduation before heading into Lancaster for some well-earned dinner and cocktails before a final night in Sugarhouse. Although a bitter-sweet end to my three years, it was a day spent with my closest friends and family and the perfect end to three of the best years of my life.