So I’m about to head off to sleep on what is my last night sleeping as a resident of the city of Bangor, and I can’t help but wax nostalgic about the past four years. Originally, my life plan didn’t lead me anywhere near here- I’d planned to do a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, and then a PGCE there, but alas things never do go to plan, do they?
And honestly, if I could go back and assure my 18-year old self of one thing, it would be that things definitely worked out in my favour. Although my time here has been ungodly amounts of stressful, it has also been the best four years of my life, and I wouldn’t change it even if I could. Now I’m sorry about the length of this post, but there are certain things you just need to do when leaving a place you love behind, and one of them is make sure you fit in the whole story.
When I moved here in 2012, I was a totally different person to who I am now. More shy, reserved and wary of what people thought of me. Until of course, the day I moved in and I just thought “fuck it, I am who I am- people can either like me or ignore me”. And almost overnight, I changed. A lot. And I’m glad I did, I feel like moving away from home really took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to evolve as a person- an experience I wouldn’t really have had staying in my home city.
Now, I didn’t live in the main Ffriddoedd accommodation site, instead opting to live in the cheaper, and a lot more ratchet, Normal Site. It was pretty awful as buildings go, a throwback to the 1960s with slanted floors and single-glazed windows- but it was our piece of shit. And we certainly made it home. I’d like to say I’ll never forget my days roaming the corridors of Seiriol and the good times I had there, but honestly I was pissed as a newt for more than 75% of it, so a more apt phrase would be that I’ll never remember them!
Of course, one thing you don’t forget is the people you meet. The first person I met was Yasmin, my across-the-hall mate. She was a vegetarian, but the smell of all our cooking soon fixed that, and between us we had the best male and female tits on Normal Site, so we were obviously a winning combination. I’ve had some fantastic… not quite memories, but experiences, with Yaz- although the best is easily when we got so blackout drunk we can’t remember getting home and were greeted in the morning by a friendly Jehovah’s Witness, clearly a sign that we needed to rethink our lives.
The other people I shared my kitchen with were awesome too- Max (who is hands-down one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and never fails to make me laugh), Amelia (who’s first experience of me was me loudly vomiting before even having a drink in Fresher’s Week and didn’t judge), Matt (who I haven’t heard off since first year but I hope he’s doing well), Warden Tom (the world’s chillest Halls Warden who I’m pretty sure was terrified of me) and Random Chinese Girl, who I saw twice and didn’t ever learn her name. I’m always going to miss those random times in that kitchen, and couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to live with. Ginge lived on my floor too, because he’s cool like that, and I’m pretty sure I vandalised his door with permanent marker to make a racist joke about gingers.
That being said, I spent most of my time on the first floor of the building. Most of my current friends lived there- including Tom, who I lived with for two whole years (I’m honestly not sure how you managed that mate, I’m pretty taxing to live with). I met Tom properly in Academi on the Friday of Fresher’s Week, where he very unsubtley told me that he was looking to get laid (and I’ll tell you again- not my type, bro) and we developed a pretty fast friendship from there. Even after he nearly burnt down a building armed with just a sausage roll.
Through Tom, I met his now-girlfriend Liz (well done for sticking with it girl, I would have walked at least a year ago :P) and although we didn’t really get on at first (mainly because I was being a total bitch), we’re now pretty close friends and I’m glad it worked out in the end. Even if we did symbolically hog roast your boyfriend (phrasing) and then eat him on sandwiches. Pig Tom was amazing though. I totally look forward to seeing your pretty new house after the summer and wish you both the best of luck in the future. And when you get preggo, I demand to be a middle name. Even if it’s a girl (Jakeisha or Kim will do).
Another friend for life I made on Normal Site is my ex-wife Gen, and even though we got divorced I feel like our friendship is stronger than ever. I don’t think I’d have made it through the last four years without you there having a laugh by my side and keeping me de-stressed! Whether it be listening to me bitch about people who are getting on my tits, getting rat arsed with me, or just laughing so hard everyone assumes we’re drunk, you’re one of a kind and honestly I’m so lucky to have you, and wish you all the best for the future.
The rest of the people in halls I hung out with; Nev, Adam, Miriam, Fola, M.J., Jacob, Nero, Nick, Dan and Chris- even though we don’t really talk much any more I’ll always treasure the good memories we all had together in that place, and it’s a damned shame that the University doesn’t use the Normal Site buildings any more- because people are being deprived of the amazing experience we had!
Unfortunately, at the end of my first year I was struck by a pretty bad bout of gastroenteritis, and couldn’t complete the required percentage of practical assignments for my course, so I ended up having to resit first year- and again, I can safely say that I am so glad that this happened because the people I met in my second first year are basically like family to me now.
When they moved in, I started out as their Peer Guide, and had to show some of them around the University. Gabriel was the only one of my current group of friends who was actually one of my Freshers- and one of my first memories with him was going full soccer mom on the staff of Varsity because his food was so late. “I don’t care where the food is, I want to speak to your manager” 😛 Even though he’s a traitor and left us after a year to go study at the University of York, Gabe remained one of my closest friends and really befriending him allowed me to be as close as I am with the group, so I owe him a lot, and I really hope that, as one of the most intelligent people I know, he really excels in life as he deserves.
I remember the first day of Freshers Week, I hijacked a group of people who weren’t really feeling the night out we had planned and took them to the Menai for some quieter drinks. Among this group was Alice, another one of my closest friends. Although we don’t always share the same opinion, we get on like a house on fire and her endless optimism and caring attitude have been huge reliefs to be around for the past three years, and because I know she’s probably already stressing about the final years of her MChem, I’m gonna take this opportunity to say “Relax, you got this!”.
Another member of the family is Garrie, who I’ve not really spoken to as much as I should have this year but she’s lovely- and honestly one of the nicer people that I know. She probably hears half of the offensive shit that I say and thinks “What a tit!” but I really admire how she sticks by her beliefs and I hope that this personality trait stays with her for life because it’s honestly admirable.
The last of my three dragons is Rachel. Rachel’s a very confusing person if you don’t know her- because she could easily beat the living shit out of you, but I don’t think she ever would because she’s one of the sweetest people I know- and I really love how she tries her best to look after everybody, and I genuinely think that sometimes she’s the glue that holds our group together- so we all owe Rachel a lot. It is my hope that she remains as awesome as she is now (or even somehow exceeds this awesome limit) and that we continue to see a lot of each other in the future 🙂
Another member of our little group is Tom, who I daresay is the funniest person I know. About 90% of the things he says or does cracks me up- and honestly, especially in the last year or so there have been times where I’ve felt pretty down and Tom’s humour lifts you straight back up, and I’m really grateful to have got the time to get to know him, and I wish him and Bronte all the best success and happiness in life because you’re both amazingly beautiful people- inside and out.
Halfway through second year, I joined the ChemSoc committee, which really helped me take my mind off the stresses of my degree by organising fun Christmas Dinners and cocktail parties. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without my friend and ChemSoc Fuhrer, Mari- who is the best damn Chairwoman we’ve ever had, and I’ll fight you if you try to tell me otherwise. She’s an amazing person to be around, and a good friend, and everyone who is staying in Bangor is lucky because they get to go to more of her awesome cocktail parties (obviously lessened by the loss of me, but still pretty damned awesome) 😛
Another powerful member of the almighty ChemSoc committee is one of my best friends Cole- who honestly keeps me sane by being as big of a bitch as I am (I know he’s not gonna be offended by that, in fact he’s probably flattered) and his new cottage with Rowan is super-cute. I love it. Just to embarrass him, I want to make sure that he doesn’t get drunk and lock himself out again, nearly giving himself hypothermia because you now live in the arse end of nowhere and nobody will find you. I really wish both of you the best and hope that you both ace your degrees here 🙂
Speaking of people who are actually my own age, it’s shocking that I’ve not gotten round to mentioning Peter yet. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody quite like Peter, and I don’t think I ever will- he’s a pretty one of a kind guy. He has the right mix of alcohol, random-ass stories and life experience to constantly remain interesting and I’ve really missed him while he’s been living it large in Rouen. I’m super-glad he’s returning to the UK soon and literally cannot wait to hang out with him again! There’s been a significant lack of driving round blasting gangsta tunes out of small villages in my life since he’s been away 😦
Now I only have two of my absolute besties left, and I’m so close to them both that my boyfriend actually refers to them as “the kids” in conversation. I’ll start with the oldest, Liam. All the people who aren’t friends with Liam literally need to be so jealous of my life. He’s the physical embodiment of a ray of sunshine. Like I don’t even think he’s capable of being mean to anybody, he’s always so happy and he’s the most uplifting person to be around. The only thing I can hope for is that I’ve been as good a friend to him as he has to me over the years, and that this little ray of sunshine continues to shine as bright as he does now- because the light he brings to the people around him is priceless, and something that I really treasure.
And last, but not least, is my #1 best friend William. Although passers-by will hear me speaking to him and think I hate his guts, that couldn’t be further from the truth (it’s just banter!!!). His friendship has gotten me through literally one of the darkest points of my life, and I owe him everything for that- and will no doubt continue to pay him back in all the alcohol, food and hugs I possibly can! He can be an annoying little troll at times (like when he promises you that you can meet his dog, and then oversleeps and says “You had your chance”) but he’s my little troll, and I really hope he realises just how much his friendship means to me, because I know I say it a lot, but he really is like the little brother I never had, and honestly he’ll always be considered part of my family- whether he likes it or not! 😛
Anyways, I’ve rambled on enough about the people who really made Bangor special for me. Obviously, they aren’t all I’m going to miss. I’m going to miss the smell of the sea walking down the street to my house, and I’m going to miss all the volunteering I got to do for Stevie, Siobhan and Delwyn in the Chemistry department. I’m going to miss the beautiful scenery around Bangor and Anglesey, and I’m going to miss my little house. I’m going to miss complaining about how Bangor’s High Street is so terrible and “would it kill them to get a decent few bloody shops?” or how the only decent nightclub is Academi, a school disco with booze.
But, that being said, I’m glad my time here has come to a close. I’m in the final stages of accepting a place to study a PGCE in Chemistry so I can finally fulfill my dream of teaching, and I’ll always have the memories of Bangor to cherish. The only thing I can hope for is the amazing group of people that have become my friends enjoy the rest of their lives as much as they’ve helped me to enjoy the past four years of mine, and I will be keeping in contact with all of you so don’t think you’re free just because I’ve left!
Good luck to you all and remember, if any of you ever need me I’m only a Facebook message or a phone call away.
Always with great love and friendship,
Jake 🙂 ❤ xxxxxx