The time has finally come. It’s the beginning of the last period of my Bachelor degree, and without plans to stay in Maastricht and study for my Masters, I find myself with only two months left in the city I have called home for the last three years.
With ample time on my hands, all that seems left to do is to do all the things I didn’t do in the last three years. Go to Sint Pieter’s Berg? Check. Go to the Bonnefanten? Check (about 3 times). Get a library card? Check (finally). Claim reward points on various loyalty cards? Check. Get bike stolen? Check. Have replacement bike break in the middle of the street? Check. I’m doing the really exciting things.
More seriously, however, the beginning of the end has me slightly pensive about my time in this small city. Over the past three years I’ve racked up many hours spent in the library, a few bikes, two apartments, numerous letters from the Gemeente which I’ve mostly ignored, my fair share of doctors’ appointments, a handful of exceptionally good nights out, literally hundreds of Skype calls and an on-going love affair with mayonnaise.
With no bike left to speak of, I have had a chance to enjoy the city instead of zipping through it whilst looking straight ahead all the time. Part of me can’t believe it’s over, and another part of me feels like I’ve been here forever. Recently, when I’ve spent time in places with a population over 120,000 I’ve felt swamped, I am distinctly not used to being near towering skylines and I’m surprised when places are busy on Sundays or Monday mornings.
It’s time to reacquaint myself with the big city, and it’s time for me to say goodbye to Maastricht. My friends and I will become scattered, new owners will claim my apartment and my belongings will be sold for whatever I can get for them. It’s a strange thought that I have to acknowledge; I probably won’t be coming back to Maastricht.
So whilst I’m here, I have an unshakable sense that I have to make the absolute best of it. Students of Maastricht University know that student life isn’t necessarily the hazy, blissfully stress-free period that older generations might suggest it is, but compared to what probably comes next it very well could be.
Phoebe Ellis-Rees, Bachelor Student at FASoS