I remember moving into Ormond. It was Saturday, the 19th of February 2011. Ripped and Admiral helped me move into Picken C2, and as we ascended the stairs I stopped and looked at a poster full of pictures of the people I would soon regard as the most important people in my life.
That was two and a half years ago now, and for those of you out there who are also recalling that warm February day in 2011, you’re a third-year. And if that’s the case, this is probably your last semester at Ormond. A semester of lasts – it sounds so solemn.
What has struck me in the past few months is how distinctly different every year at Ormond has been. First year was new – everything was shiny and unknown. I spent the year dipping my toe into what were then unchartered waters. I didn’t know how to get involved, the third-years seemed like wise adults, and the second-years seemed like they knew how to party. But once the water seemed warm enough I jumped in, and I haven’t really been able to pull myself out ever since. By second year we had learned how the college worked; how it all operated and how we wanted to fit into it. Being busy became a common trait, although my first-year assumptions about life as a second-year remained accurate.
However, it is third year that has been the strangest for me. It quickly became evident that the wise image of third years I had once perceived couldn’t be further from the truth. The knowledge of our departure has loomed over me all year. I moved in and felt an overwhelming dread that I wouldn’t be ready to leave the nest in ten months time; that saying goodbye to this place I had so willingly called home would be near impossible. I won’t live with all of my best friends anymore. I won’t have Abdul making mealtimes enjoyable. I won’t have a Smoko every three weeks to remind me I’m hip. I won’t have Holy Grail, or Ormond heating, or ROMP. No more Pickenfest or tower parties or readily available sports teams that are sometimes willing to let me train with them despite my lack of hand-eye coordination.
However, what has recently occurred to me is that I will always have all of that. Ormond has given us all those things to keep forever. I will always remember (most of) ROMP. I will always have the people I met here, and forever keep the experiences of every smoko, meeting, meal, or late night game of cards. Ormond doesn’t just disappear, as I feared it would. It just makes room for something else. It gives us back everything we put into it, and then it sets us free, hopefully a little bit fuller than we were when we arrived. A sort of less-incognito Room of Requirement, if you will.
So now it’s that time of year again. People are trying to coordinate exit buddies. Real estate websites are being trolled. The countdown to Leavers’ ROMP has officially begun. Everything we do now is for the last time. So let me say this; we are lucky. For those of you that are staying on – take advantage of this place we call home. Because it is truly magical, the life we live. Leaving is terrifying (and a little bit exhilarating) and many of us have no idea what comes next, but we will always have Ormond. That is what we take with us in 15 weeks time, and it is a treasure of immeasurable value.