The end of summer is the only bit of summer I like. As much as I enjoy having nothing to do (I don’t enjoy it), autumn means productivity, and if there is anything I have learnt about myself over the past year, it’s that I love being productive. I may feel stressed out by education, but it gives me a purpose. Working towards something—anything!—makes me happy.

Getting ready for university has only meant little things so far, like changing my bank account to a student one and signing forms for student finance. Mostly money matters, which I am not skilled in at all. I’ve tried making lists, but I am not good at making lists—I write down three things at most and then my mind goes blank, and three things does not constitute a proper list. For miscellaneous objects to take to uni, so far I have: coat hangers, towels, hot water bottle.

But the soul-enriching things I want to do in London are easy to list in swaths and swaths. All the museum exhibitions and all the paintings and all the old shops and cafés and all the train journeys and the pubs and the gigs and all that beautiful stuff that I can’t put into words. There is nowhere I would rather be going.

Despite all that, some parts of preparing to leave aren’t so sweet. My boyfriend and I were slowly waking up one morning to a lit room, and though his pure-blue eyes looked crazy beautiful framed by pink skin and white sheets, my eyes were pulled to the spine of a book over his shoulder, shouting “LONDON” at me as a cruel reminder that me and him will be two hours away from each other. I’ll be two hours away from home, from family, from the cats, from some of my precious friends—but somehow it seems farther in relation to him.

And though this summer has been mostly throwaway—wasted on some latent anxiety and depression that rose to the surface—I have pieces of nice memories: helium balloons my brother took for me from a party that he worked at and tied to the end of my bed, a letter one of my best friends wrote to me, a crystal Caitlin bought for me from the museum, a piece of the Berlin wall from my boyfriend, and marbled knickers that mark my first-ever attempt at tie-dye.

Sometimes I have a little panicked realisation when I notice something little—like my cat running across the lawn—that I really will be leaving all this and all the little things and I miss it even while I am still here. The best reassurance is how often I’ll be able to come home and how I hope it will be the perfect compromise. ♦