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  • Ellen O'Rourke

Isolation Lessons: 6


Lesson Six: Hugs and Lists.



It’s the first of May; the end of my third and final year at Falmouth University. As I hit the ‘submit’ button to upload my final projects, I breathe a heavy sigh of relief. It’s over, you’re done. All of the work that you’ve put into the past three years has come to a close. “You can relax now,” my mum texts me. I still can’t help but feel as though there are so many loose ties left undone.

On the last Friday, I briefly hugged my course mates goodbye and waltzed into the weekend. The kind of hug that is fleeting and a small gesture. The ‘I’m going to see you on Monday’ hug.



Seven weeks later, our degrees are over and I’m unlikely to see you again. Some have moved back home, some are holed up in their student flats. Some I didn’t spend enough time getting to know. Some are my closest friends. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the beginning and start over to see if things still work out the same way. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.



I have no idea where I’ll be in a years time; it’s an incredibly daunting picture. But what I do know, is that in the past three years, I’ve achieved more than I could have ever hoped for.

A few things that come to mind:

  1. I’ve fallen in love.

  2. Had my heart broken. (If you’re reading this, I forgive you. We’re young and dumb, it’s okay.)

  3. Broken my spine. Ouch.

  4. Danced my heart out into the early hours of the morning, left the bar in the pouring rain, eaten crappy chips with you and caught an empty bus home together. It’s an indie film cliche, I know.

  5. Tattoos! Self expression! Learning it’s okay to break the mould; life is too short to be anything other than myself.

  6. Parted ways with my father. Ouch.

  7. Diagnosed with endometriosis; surgery. Struggled with it. Continue to struggle with it.

  8. Interviewed Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson.

  9. Ridden some incredible horses in some incredible places. (Also fallen off of a few.)

  10. Made friendships I’ll remember until I’m grey and wrinkled.

  11. Moved out. Learnt how to pay bills, now understand what council tax is.

  12. Questioned myself. Time and time again.

  13. Made a HUGE number of mistakes.

  14. Shaved my head. Cried about it. Realised femininity is a concept I’ve been brainwashed to comply to. Shaved my head again as an act of defiance.

  15. Laughed until I’ve cried with my closest friends. You know who you are.

  16. Met inspirational people; pushed myself to become one. Slowly getting there.

  17. Started a business.

  18. Shortlisted for an international award.

  19. Left my teenage years behind.

  20. Survived being locked in a flat for seven weeks (and counting).


I challenge you to make your own list. For the past week, month, or year. List your achievements. Things are shit at the moment, but this isn’t forever. I have no idea what the future holds, or how it will look, but I do know one thing.


I won’t take hugs for granted. Hugs, from now on, will be those ‘I’m never fucking letting you go’ hugs.

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