London

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Have you ever visited a place that just feels right for you? You can't explain how or why or when, but part of you knows that that is the place that you need to be. That's the feeling that I got when I first visited London.

It was summer 2008, and I was eight-years-old and extremely innocent. I grew up in a rural area of Yorkshire, in the North of England. Until I first visited London, I can't even remember being in a city. This is somewhat ironic, as my father is a rather cosmopolitan person. He attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, so hence lived there for three years of his life. My father's adoration for London is completely obvious, yet he did not have the finances or will to live there for the longer-term. My mother, on the other hand, is a character, and she has quite a nervous temperament. Therefore, she never wanted to take two young children (my brother and I) to any large cities, or abroad for that matter. I didn't travel abroad until I was ten either, and I can't really fault her for that. I had many happy summers on the English coasts in my perfect little microcosm.  However, I am glad that we started adventuring further a-field when we did.

We are extremely fortunate when it comes to visiting London. My father's friends live in London part-time, and therefore they own a flat there. I highly doubt I would have visited as many times as I have if they did not let us stay there. Having the ability to stay in a 'home away from home' gave me from a young age the experience of living there, the experience that you just don't get from a tourist's perspective.

I'd call myself a perspective fatalist. Therefore, as soon as I first visited London in 2008, I knew that it was somewhere that I wanted to live. It sounds hugely cliche, but I just got an overwhelming feeling that this was a place that was home. Even now, we go and stay in the flat at least twice a year. However, from the age of around eight to twelve, I'd say we visited on average four or five times a year. This was back in a period where we all had much more time on our hands, so thus had the time to visit for transformative weekends away.

When I was around fourteen, I began to think about University options. This sounds quite pedantic, yet I have always been a meticulous planner and obsessed with the future. I think this comes from the fact that- since been a teenager at least- I've always been kind of unhappy with where I live.  The countryside in Yorkshire is beautiful, but I've never really felt like I've fitted in up here. The towns feel restraining to me, and opportunity feels limited. I guess you could classify it, as in the words of Frank Sinatra, "little town blues".

I knew that I wanted to attend University in London, like my father. Throughout the years, I've looked at possibly every single course at every single University. Whenever anybody asked me what I wanted to do in the future, I'd tell them: "I just want to move to London." Of course, when you're young and 'naive' people struggle to take you seriously, and this always infuriated me. I'd researched, planned and budgeted the next ten years of my life; I was going to do it.

The feeling of it being 'right' intensified from this point. Every train journey I took to London felt like I was returning home and I always felt so melancholic when I had to come back home at the end of a trip, I felt like I had left a piece of myself there.

In September 2017 I attended some open days in London. I went down with my father, and it was a dream. I fell head over heels in love with King's College London. This surprised me, as I was actually expecting to prefer University College London, but no, I was mesmerised with King's. I went to talk with one of the English lecturers, and I was so awe-struck that I embarrasingly failed to formulate sentences. However, I convinced myself that I would never get in, and I felt completely like the University was far too good for me.

After a gruelling UCAS application process, in November 2017 I received an offer to study English at King's College London. It's now February 2018, and I am beginning to feel more content than I ever previously have. Of course, I'm only part of my way through this journey, and meeting the grades that I need to get in is a challenge in itself. However, I am trying to remain positive, while figuring out if this is a step that I am ready to make at this point in my life. I thought I'd share this little anecdote with you, just as it is fascinating how a place can symbolise everything that you are, and everything that you want to be.

I'm planning on writing another blogpost about the University application process as I begin to reach the end of that journey in a few months time.

Hopefully, I'll be able to take you along with me on the journey.

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