I can’t lie, I’ve held off from writing this final blog post for quite some time for a few reasons, the main one being that it rather symbolically marks the end of an era.

I remember that very first Monday morning at university, everyone was just settling into hall life, frantically dashing to Look Sharp to grab anything that may even slightly resemble a toga, and meeting for the very first time, a group of people that would later become like family to me. I remember sitting in a small room on campus in a beautiful building on that sunny day; a platter of subs and cookies in front of us, sitting anxiously round a table with a small collection of first year bloggers. Looking back now, this memory is extremely important to me. I titled my first blog ‘Opening a New Book’ because that was exactly what that first day was. It was the start of what was essentially the first day of my adult life. From that day onward, each day challenged me and helped me mature.

As a year 13 student by this point in the year, virtually 100% of students are raring to leave home and fly the nest. We all get itchy feet and that is totally justified. Coming from a nervous person who struggles with change, university will change you as a character and in many ways, there isn’t any way that you can anticipate what will come your way in your first year. That being said, you’ll experience so many things you never could otherwise, and you really will find yourself in some way.

This year has taught me not only about law, but also about friendships, connections with people, how to focus and ultimately, I learnt about myself. I learnt about my character and what makes me strong, I learnt about what makes me tick, I learnt how to handle money and how to be independent. I was worried I wouldn’t respond well to being back at home for three months, going back to the life that I lived before Auckland. But that’s just it, I really have learnt to be independent and I know that I have grown, and that really is what this first year has been about for me.

2018 has offered me so many opportunities that I could never have dreamt of had I not chosen to come to the University of Auckland. Pictured below are a small snapshot of my favourite moments of the year, from hall dinners, to brunches, to a bouncy castle being set up in the courtyard of O’Rorke. Next year I will be living in another hall, Carlaw Park, which I am sure will also offer me a set of new memories, but I know that I will never forget the people that I met, the places that I went and the things that I learnt, both academically and personally over the course of 2018.

This year really has flown by in the blink of an eye. To all the 2019 intake, your first year will be one heck of a ride, but my goodness will you enjoy it.