On finishing exams and personal growth

It was a moment we'd been dreaming about for months. The final-minute drop of the pen, the post-essay wring of the wrists, the sigh of exhaustion and exultation: Honours, finally finished.

What would've been next?

Nothing was planned, aside from a beverage at the pub over the road.

Alas, my cappuccino would have to wait. Within seconds of handing in my last yellow answer booklet, I was ushered away and asked to explain my breach of the Examination Rules section 4(a).

Whoops.

The first line of my most recent column comes to mind: "With exams just around the corner (tomorrow, in fact), cheating is on my mind." Yeah, well, apparently it was.

Without divulging the details, it turns out that an old supermarket shopping list has got me into a bit of trouble. Tissues, laundry powder, Q-tips. Drama.

And drama continues post exams as I'm now faced with the hassle of shifting four years' worth of Dunedin back to Christchurch. Around me, others are also condensing their lives into cardboard boxes and duvet cases.

Clothes are squashed, shoved, bundled into bags ... While I'm constantly questioning: where did this come from?

Almost-empties are emptied; forgotten items are found; books are heavy; pot-plants present difficult decisions. Notes are kept, or chucked (usually chucked), occasionally set alight, ideally recycled. Hours (and hours) later, and the room is still a tip.

Then there's the issue of furniture.

Will the landlord allow summer storage?

With a twelve-month lease you'd be hoping so, but that's not always the case. Campus is littered with flyers: beds, wardrobes, desks, chairs, little cube-shaped shelf contraptions, are all desperately cheap at this time of year.

A mind-baffling range of paraphernalia passes from generation to generation of the student community in the likeness of a mass "moving sale". Don't bother inquiring about how old that is, or where this came from originally, the honest answer is that nobody really knows but of course it's all been well looked after.

In first year, as I sat with my mother in a hotel room on George St, waiting for Saturday and Arana's open day, I watched two young men nonchalantly carry a queen-sized mattress down the footpath. A while later, they returned for the bed base.

Such a sight was a shock for a self-conscious Aucklander. However, in third year, when I found myself lugging a flatmate's bookshelf down Grange St, I'll admit that I chuckled to myself. Dunedin, you've changed me.

Within the chaos of the half-packed bedroom is a quarter-packed sports bag which is supposed to be ready for tomorrow's trip to Stewart Island. On the laptop screen is a semi-complete column. Amid the Dunedin-induced personal growth, even in the absence of study, some things will stay the same.

Honours, finally finished.

 - Katie Kenny studies English at the University of Otago.