A Goodbye Letter to Bristol from a new graduate

Parys says a bittersweet goodbye to what she reckons is ‘one of the best cities in the world’

Bristol. One of the best cities in the world. A vibrant place full of incredible people and amazing opportunities. A place I was lucky enough to call home for the last three years. But those three years have now sadly come to an end.

As lucky as I am to be pursuing my MA degree in London, a part of me will always hold Bristol dear to my heart.

As a city it helped in my personal journey of becoming myself, and without sounding too deep it really did help me grow.

In the three years I lived there, it made who I am now. It helped to educate me, provide me with the knowledge of so many things and gave me the opportunities of a lifetime. I met people who will be in my life forever no matter where I am and really helped me to grow as a person. It shaped me to feel more equipped with what the world would throw at me and helped me be informed on what was happening in society, as well as offering me advice on how to show my support and help.

From a placement at Rife, to working at pubs and bars, going to museum and gallery exhibitions, festivals and events and the plethora of bookshops I had the pleasure of browsing, Bristol really had a lot to offer in means of personal growth. As a city it helped in my personal journey of becoming myself, and without sounding too deep it really did help me grow.

As a young creative, living in Bristol was the best opportunity I could have had in means of developing a voice and having it heard, and Rife played a large role in that. With Rife being the first place I ever got a piece of writing published, it made me feel as if I had found an audience who wanted to hear what I had to say, as well as having the guidance I needed to finesse the ‘voice’ I was trying to develop.

It’s the biggest manufacturer of hot air balloons – hence the hot air balloon festival held every year. How can you not love that?

There is a lot I have learned about Bristol in my time living there. I now know so many random and weird facts that make me love Bristol that much more. It’s the biggest manufacturer of hot air balloons – hence the hot air balloon festival held every year. How can you not love that? But more importantly Bristol as a whole is so educational. From protests supporting the BLM movement, to informative art exhibitions such as ‘Still I Rise’ at the Arnolfini and so much more.

For all you Bristol newbies this year, I am going to let you all in on some of my favourite places to go in Bristol.

Let’s start off with a UWE student classic, a Gloucester Road legend, ‘The Anchor.’ It’s the home of 25p chicken wings Wednesdays and a £2 pint every Thursday for students. I had the pleasure of working at the Anchor for some time and not only was it my favourite places to go and relax with friends, it was also one of the most fun jobs I have ever had!

The main thing I will miss about Bristol is how there is always something happening, no matter what area you live in. There is always a place, a club, a bar, a museum, festival, protest, that brings us all together.

Another, more cultural gem that Bristol has to offer is the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. They are always showing such fun and interesting exhibits from the Occult and Magic through the ages to a Japanese Art exhibit. It really is such a cool place to go to learn about all the weird and wonderful things you’d never think you would want to know. There is also the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the iconic Victorian bridge with one of the best views of Bristol. You can take a tour of the bridge or appreciate its beauty from the terrace of the White Lion pub that overlooks it.

The main thing I will miss about Bristol is how there is always something happening, no matter what area you live in. There is always a place, a club, a bar, a museum, festival, protest, that brings us all together. It has so much to offer everyone, and it’s been a pleasure to experience as much as I could with the people I love.

Ending my Bristol journey through the means of a global pandemic that resulted in a more or less world lockdown wasn’t ideal – not in the slightest – but I still got to say some of my farewells in the new normal. To my dingy little flat on Gloucester Road, to the Anchor where I made lifelong friends (who are now more or less family) and though I didn’t get my farewell at graduation to UWE I know I eventually will. Most importantly I got to say to goodbye to Bristol as a whole as I took a final stroll down Gloucester Road one last time as a Bristol resident.

Bristol will always be one of my favourite cities in the world, no matter where I am. And though it will always only be a train ride away for a visit I am pretty sure I left a piece of myself there. So, here I am, a UWE graduate having moved out of my darling Bristol, onto a new adventure. One I hope treats me as well as Bristol did. Here’ to hoping.

Have you graduated recently? What memories will you leave behind? Let us know in the comments.

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