It has been graduation day at Southampton University. It is always wonderful to see successful students celebrating their achievements and sad to see them saying farewell and hugging their companions while new lost-looking youngsters wonder around the streets nervously.
I follow some of the students in their new careers on their blogs and am proud of the fact that my city has allowed them to travel the world with their exciting work. One student I follow who left a few years ago has a blog entitled My Little Journal (sign up from your email to request to follow).
She was sad when she saw the graduation ceremony being live-streamed and today, under the heading “The Day Southampton Made Me Cry” – she wrote:
Somehow, all the emotions and memories came rushing back to me. When I looked at their graduation photos, I felt a pang of sadness. I’ve always associated them with Southampton, along with memories attached to each person. And now, as their Southampton chapter is ending, I feel lost. It’s a nasty jab when I realized, if someday I come back to Southampton, everything will be different. I might not know anyone there, and I might feel alienated in a place that was utterly familiar to me. In a way, I guess it’s worse than moving to a completely new place, where you don’t have pieces of dormant memories tucked in every corner of the city, ready to be awoken at any moment.
Southampton means a lot to me. It was the place where I met some of the most incredible people in my life. It was the place where I found my true self, and the courage to be that self. It was the place where I fell in love, got heartbroken, and recovered in a way that made me not just stronger, but also wiser and richer.
Southampton introduced me to the best version of myself I hadn’t known before, and for that reason alone, it holds a special place in my heart.
Usually, I distract myself before I get too emotional. Today, I let myself cry.
I hope I can see you again, Southampton. :’)