I think one of the things people most look forward to when starting uni is the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. For those of us who have lived in the same towns and attended the same schools for years and years, it's a burst of fresh personalities and a chance to rid yourself of any old stigmas, rumours and character traits that people have always associated with you. Then for those who have travelled around, moving from town to town, or indeed country to country, university promises stability and a chance to be in the same place for at least three years and subsequently the time to invest in some deep and meaningful friendships.

It seems a lifetime ago that I was sat in the main hall of Manor Hall on the evening of 3rd October listening to the warden talk about how he was still in contact with the people he had met in his Fresher's week. The whole 'the people you meet at uni will be your lifetime pals' spiel was more of a pressure than a promise in the first few Fresher days. I felt myself constantly judging and analysing those around me to see whether they fitted my 'lifetime friend' criteria and I theirs. I think everyone has that horrible feeling in the first couple of days, or even weeks when you go 'WILL I EVER BE CLOSE TO ANYONE!?' and there's always going to be a few lonely nights where you find yourself standing in Bunker with a drink you don't like, dancing with people you have nothing in common with and really wishing you were in bed watching Gilmore Girls and then there are the lonely nights spent watching Gilmore Girls by yourself because you have yet to meet anyone else who'll watch it with you. Students are complicated creatures...

Anyway, now the initial craziness of Fresher's has passed and I've finally found my own rhythm to the beat of University Life I am becoming more and more aware of how many incredible people I have met in the space of 6 months. My Mother will tell you that every time I phone home, I'm likely to mention at least 20 people who I've had coffee with or who have encouraged and supported me. In every area of my life at Bristol - Pip n' Jays, Manor Hall, CU, MTB, BOPS, German and Italian departments - I am surrounded by family.

The girls on my floor are a gorgeous and boiling pot of fun and girliness. We laugh, cry, make pancakes, dress-up, have movie nights in Pajamas and cook together. Each girl is unique and set apart in their dreams, courses, diets, personalities and fashion style, yet somehow we all stitch together to form a beautiful and loving patchwork of conversations, routines and memories. There's also numerous others in Manor, the boys on 0-West with their humous-making, chilli-nachos eating, guitar-playing, Gilmore Girls- watching amazingness. There's the drama king across the road with his horrendous mood swings, tropical fruit juice lovin' and insatiable desire to perform and, recently, The Crucible cast.

Church people are, in a word: inspirational. Every conversation I have with them is uplifting, challenging and dead exciting. I look forward to every Tuesday when we can just dwell in the presence of God together and I love that everywhere I go I am greeted by some Pip and Jay love. It's so precious to have someone on my course who goes to my church, someone who I can have some German grammar banter with and at the same time get excited about how Goethe's Faust really and truly reveals God's grace. Then there's the Pip n Jayer in my hall and the little community round the corner in their little house with their never ending cups of tea and conversation.

CU people, again, just overwhelm me with their wisdom and their love. There's the little group who have met every morning for the last week or two at 7:15 in the morning to pray for Christianity Explored - there's endless banter and tangents, but also heartfelt prayer and fellowship. There's the Hall group with all the cake and all the John's Gospel knowledge and there's the CU across the uni - the two dear friends who I go the library with after prayer breakfast, who make me laugh, encourage me go to counselling workshops and make me TALK about the things that bother me. There's the community on Goldney Road with the shared love for Cath Kidston, mature Cheese (private joke!) and there's numerous others who shower me with joy and biblical wisdom.

Recently, there's the sudden appearance of a second-cousin who lives in the attic of Woodland's Church. I love having a REAL relation so close by. Someone who shares so many of my character traits as well as my hair colour. Already, there is an intimate, godly and incredibly witty relationship starting to develop - something I am so thankful for!

Last, but certainly not least, there are the musical theatre/opera lot. I'm still very much in touch with and close to the cast of Little Women, perhaps it's because we all played family, perhaps it's because it was such an intimate and special show experience for all of us. In the past week I have met up with two of my 'sisters' for coffee in Clifton Village, planned baking sessions and had banter with other members of the cast on Facebook chat. I guess the little duo living in an adorable ground floor flat in Clifton Village ought to be mentioned explicitly. These two ladies have become the older sisters I never had - they let me share their wardrobes, make me gluten-free pizza, they listen to me cry and despair, they support me and try to understand my crazy dreams and aspirations. Gemma Chance is by far the biggest facebook stalker in existence, which is why one of her lifetime ambitions is to get a mention on my blog. So MENTIONED. Hehehe.

All that's left to say, is that the Warden was right. After relaxing a little and letting things run their course I can honestly claim that I have been overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the friends I have here in Bristol. God has truly blessed me with a family away from home, a network of people running through every inch of my life so that I know that whatever storms I face, I will not have to face them alone.

Currently listening to: Shane & Shane Song of Surrender

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