Two weeks ago I handed in my MSc Film Studies thesis. Before I knew it, everything was in boxes and my time in Edinburgh had come to an end. I’m now back home in Lancashire, with several full cardboard boxes still lingering in the corner of my bedroom. Unpacking these last few boxes will mean the end of a really exceptional year so, right now, I can’t bring myself to do it. I celebrated my final hand in with a week at the Fringe festival where I was joined by my brother, and then my best friend. It was such a relief to handover my thesis and turn my attention to soaking up the last of what this glorious city had to offer me. I experienced some quality comedy and some exceptional theatre amidst packing up my room and taking down all of my photographs. The rest of August has been spent holidaying in Wales with my partner and spending many happy hours with my family. From September, the job hunt begins and I’m back behind a bar to earn my living. Until then I’ve been occupying myself with card games and large mugs of tea in the soothing company of my loved ones. My MSc has challenged me in numerous ways. At times I have felt defeated by the massive jump up to postgraduate study but I have remained inspired. My love of cinema has continued to grow and my knowledge of film now compliments that a little bit more. I have constantly struggled with the academic style of writing; something I am pleased to be leaving behind. Still, I will continue to miss the classroom environment and the passionate discussions with my fellow film students – conversations that were always at their best after one too many pints of ale. I will not miss academia as much as I will miss Edinburgh but it is comforting to know that I gave it my all. My thesis, though not quite perfect, was fuelled by enthusiasm and countless hours of research which brought me such joy.
My time in Scotland’s capital has taught me many things but the most valuable thing I have learnt is just how much dedication you have to have when trying to accomplish your greatest desires. Funding my MSc has been entirely independent. With no government or University support I have relied on the generosity of my family and my demanding part time work. After receiving hundreds of blisters, pouring thousands of pints and constantly struggling to balance my degree and my job I have made it through my final, and my most expensive, year of education. Edinburgh has taught me that you have to work hard to get what you want and my reward will be in the pride I feel on graduation day – and hopefully in the perfect job that I will eventually find. The future is more unclear than ever as I am preparing for what will be a difficult job hunt and a rather depressing transitional phase. I need to remind myself to stay positive and realistic. It is lovely to be at home, surrounded by such supportive people. The worst thing about being back home is having such limited access to good cinema. I deeply miss both Filmhouse and Cameo which remain the greatest things about Edinburgh. My happiest hours were spent in the darkness of both cinemas, being exposed to truly unique and enriching movies. Summer is over and so is my education. In the final months of 2014 I will be graduating and job hunting – desperately trying to find a place within the industry I adore. Edinburgh brought me my greatest challenges and many irreplaceable experiences. Thank you for taking the time to read about my year in my favourite city. A year ago today I moved to Edinburgh and I am filled with pride when I look back and think of all I have achieved since then. In Edinburgh I met, dined and conversed with one of my greatest inspirations, Mark Kermode. In Edinburgh I conducted my first professional interview with director Jeff Baena. In Edinburgh I threw myself into the world’s oldest film festival. In Edinburgh I completed my Master’s degree. In Edinburgh I did a lot of growing. Through highs and lows, and until I return, I will think of it ever so fondly.
…Of all the cities in the world, Edinburgh is for me;
For no matter where I look, some lovely spot I see;
And for picturesque scenery unrivalled you do stand.
Therefore I pronounce you to be the Pride of Fair Scotland.
– from Beautiful Edinburgh by William McGonagall
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.