you know the year’s coming to an end when the use-by date on your milk carton reads ‘February 2017’

Quite uneventfully, the year has come to an end. I’m spending the last day of the year in my PJs, in bed, watching documentaries on Alan Bennett and the Brontë sisters, whilst putting off reading for the coming semester. Nothing particularly exciting there. If anything, this day pales in comparison to the year that preceded it.

2016 has given us great cause for heartache, its political turmoil and celebrity deaths marking, perhaps, the end of an era in our young lives. Still it seems rather bittersweet, though quite apt, that the year I exit my teenage-hood shall coincide with such disillusionment – not to mention the passing of my childhood icons. What follows? Who knows? We shall see.


Whilst the year has been rampant with tragedy that I mourn, it hasn’t exactly maltreated me either. When I wasn’t waking up to pop-up notifications updating me on world events – mostly upsetting ones – I travelled to London and watched Florence and the Machine for the first time ever. I attended classes at Cambridge. Met Grimes, Chvrches, Matt Smith, and Rupert Graves (the latter being a felicitous encounter). Breakfasted with Emma Thompson.

My best friend returned, this summer, from Glasgow and we had the most whimsical time wandering through museums in the day, spending droll nights in between, at her place, marathoning tv shows. Though she had to leave three months ago to continue her degree, in my second year at university, I encountered and befriended the most lovely suite mates who’d take her immediate place and help me, where she cannot, through the year.

Over the past months, I wrote for TYCI. Got my poetry to Flo. Got published in the student’s journal. Produced work, essays and paintings that I can retrospectively be proud of.

PerhapsI could have done more with my time – been more efficient, I suppose, and less sloppy at times – but between keeping myself sane and achieving all that I had, I must say I’ve done pretty well for the year. Much lies ahead for me in 2017, and I can only, hence, hope that the coming year will be just as brilliant as I’d planned for it to be.

And so, now, Auld Lang Syne, my friend.


life gets crazier

The month since moving out of college has simply been a whirlwind ride, albeit lacking the sheer excitement of travel that had defined this very period of time a year ago. So far, I’ve:

Settled down rather comfortably into the rhythm of life at home again

Pored through half the books that I’ve accumulated by my bedside table over the past year

Sought out editorial internships (and found just the right one for myself)

Painted for the first time in months

Began drafting my pieces for British Vogue’s contest next year

Picked up new Dustin O’Halloran pieces on the piano

And all this was done between spending time with my family and friends, particularly ones who have just returned to the country for their term break, basking in the festive spirit. Have I finally cracked the code to balancing work and life? Who knows. Watch this space to find out.

Results for the past semester have been posted two days ago, and though mine weren’t the most impressive, it felt like the best I could’ve done given the circumstances of my mental health. Of course, I was most pleasantly surprised by the A I’ve produced for my modern literature paper, given my horrendous midterm grades that I was certain I could never recover from – a stark opposition to how I began the semester believing that this paper was what will matter most to me should I continue to hold my academic aspirations. That I’ve done well in this class would, too, ease my worries about seeking a reference from my modern literature professor in the future.

On a side but not unrelated note, my application for a semestral exchange has been approved, and it appears that I’ll be spending four months abroad, at King’s College London, next year. To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. I simply cannot wait to return to one of my favourite cities – to frolic between theatres and museums, and to visit all my friends whom I haven’t been able to spend enough time with since they’ve moved away. Alas, I’ll first have to endure the coming semester here, whilst making travel plans (and making sure I don’t over-assign time to the latter at the expense of the former) before this happens, but it’s having adventures to look forward to that makes the quotidian endurable. And so it seems, life gets crazier.

December 10, 2016

The weather’s been getting chillier by the day, and it’s getting dark out more often, so the hours I’ve spent in bed (reading, no less) have considerably lengthened and I find myself drawing further away from the tangible world around me.

In six days, it’ll be two years since my Oxford interview. I was reminded of this only recently, when my friends – most of whom are doing, some completing, their degrees at the university itself – were sharing their interview stories, thus prompting me to search through my email archives for the very message delivered to me whilst I was in a changing room at Topshop, “Further to your application to read Archaeology and Anthropology, I have been informed by the tutors that your application has been short-listed for further consideration.” The stoicism and calm implicit in the email couldn’t be further from what I’d experienced in that moment of reading and rereading my invitation for an interview with the tutors of Magdalen College. I was pleased with the progress of my Oxford application, of course, but I might also have, then, harboured a rather intense admiration (one could even say, envy) of a certain anthropology tutor’s career, such that the sheer thought of being able to discuss her field of expertise with her absolutely thrilled me. I remember bursting out of the dressing room, at that point, rather shoddily dressed, announcing, in excited whispers, to my mom the news. That night, she took me out for a celebratory dinner, before hurrying me home, reference books in tow, so I could spend the following weeks preparing for what seemed to be the most important forty-five minutes of my life.

And we now know how things turned out.

But how strange is it to think that two years ago, I had borne such hopes; that I had, then, pored through books by Lévi-Strauss and Robin Dunbar, feeling utterly certain that I was going to become an anthropologist. Now the books sit on my shelf, between my hardback Victor Hugos and Tolkiens, waiting to be dusted from time to time, but otherwise remaining unread until certain secondary texts I come across in my curriculum reference them by name.

Perhaps it is even stranger to think that in barely two years, I’ll be sending off another application to Oxford, but to read a masters degree and for a different subject this time – one that I’ve found myself enjoying more than I’d expected during my time at university. (Alas, I must acknowledge, here, that Literature and Anthropology aren’t such disparate disciplines, and it was for that reason that I’d focused my efforts on the former at university.) It seems that things, however changed they may appear, do tend to stay rather constant after all: my ambitions haven’t yet altered so much as to keep me away from academia, my fascination with culture endures, and curiously, I find myself, once again, in December, buried in bed under piles of blankets and books, awaiting, equally in anticipation and in trepidation, for what the future holds.