An open letter to myself about Manchester and the university I actually love 💜

I still have my final third year exams to sit on Friday and Tuesday at the university of Manchester, and a concert to go to at the ethiad stadium on the 3rd (it’s Robbie Williams- my mum loves him). 
I’m still attending all of them.
Yes, I will be careful and as safe as I can be.

Some students have asked the university to postpone the exams, and I’m glad they haven’t.

To lock yourselves away, and not go to the things you’ve planned to go to, is to give terrorists and their organisations what they want- for us to be so terrified of them that we don’t live our lives.

I’m still getting my degree, and I’m still going to go enjoy a gig at the ethiad- albeit tainted with some somber thoughts of the attack at Manchester arena- regardless of whether extremists or ISIS or whoever would rather have me cowering in fear at home. 

That’s not to say I’m not a little anxious about going back to Manchester (I’ve been back home to revise) but to not go back is to let fear win.

Manchester is a place I frequently found myself as a young person, with countless gigs, in various venues, some comedians, a good few theatre shows, shopping trips, museum and art gallery outings, and university lectures under my belt at this point. 

Approaching the end of my three years at UOM, I now know the witch way and magic bus routes like the back of my hand. If you asked me in an ordinary week about my university, I’d probably lament how stressed and sleep deprived I am. But I love my university, and the city, all the same.

My first gig was the Take That reunion tour at the Ethiad when I was about 11

My first theatre show was Grease at the palace theatre when I was about 9

Manchester is where the majority of my greatest memories were made.

It was a no brainer when it came to which university I wanted to go to. Either the University of, or Manchester Met. Because either way I was going to my second home in the city.
It makes me angry to think people’s own memory making was ruined or that lives were taken away before they could even have those number of experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have.

The last couple of days, my anxiety has been sky high (as documented in a previous post, I have struggled with my mental health since I was 15) so it’s made trying to focus on my actual exam tough, because all I can think about is it’s location and the “What if?”. What made it most unsettling is that I’m now a disabled person. How do I go on about getting out in a terrorist attack? Which staircase on the 4th floor is the safest? Is the university even a safe place? Will there be police and armed forces personnel hovering around the beloved ‘tin can’ that is University Place?

But, despite all the uncertainty, I have to carry on. To not go back to Manchester would be like never going home again.

University of Manchester- I’m coming home again, one last time before I set off into the big wide world with all the “Knowledge, wisdom, [and] Humanity” I can possibly muster.