It is often said that whist people are studying at university they live in their own little 'uni-bubble', and in my opinion this is sort of true. However, whilst most people who use that term mean that university students don't live in the 'real' world, I don't mean it in that way. You see, at university students are usually split into different faculties, based in their own designated building(s), and although sometimes they do have classes in each other's building(s), the majority of the time they're in their own faculty 'bubble'. Well, that's how it is at De Montfort University (DMU), and although I do have friends in different faculties, the majority of my friends study in the same faculty as me (Business and Law). Therefore, it takes something massive to bring the whole university together and nothing has managed to achieve that quite like the time when Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, visited DMU on Thursday 8th March 2012 (8/3) on the first stop of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tour.
The excitement started to mount a little over a month ago when DMU's Vice Chancellor (VC), Dominic Shellard, tweeted confirmation that The Duchess of Cambridge would be accompanying The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on 8/3. Obviously, we were all completely ecstatic that the university would be playing host to royalty and the confirmation that The Duchess would also be coming was like the icing on a very sweet cake.
The following weeks were a bit of a whirlwind, with excitement building both in Leicester and on campus, as news of the visit spread. The VC held a number of student and staff briefings, where he dished out tickets to a Fashion Show that The Queen and The Duchess were going to attend. Having attended one of these briefings, I was gutted when I missed out on the opportunity to get my hands on what was the most sought after invitation on campus because I was too shy to stick my hand up to answer a question that I knew the answer to. However, I went to the final student and staff briefing with my friend. I was hoping that there would be one final chance to get my hands on a ticket and praying that I would have the guts to just stick my hand up if knew the answer. After the briefing, where I learnt more than I did at the previous briefing because I wasn't solely focused on getting a ticket, the VC said he would be asking three questions and the person he selected to answer would be the winner, providing their answer was correct of course. Now, bear with me because this is where my memory is a little hazy at best. I remember the VC asking what date The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married, but I don't remember putting my hand up and I don't remember answering. However, put my hand up and answer I did and I found myself the winner of an invitation!! I was so thrilled, guaranteed I was OMGing all over the place, and I probably trampled on so many feet trying to get out of the row the I was sitting in - I could have gone the other way where no one was sitting but I just wasn't thinking straight.
Having an invitation to the Fashion Show meant that I could rock up at 10am instead of 5am like I had planned. However, I wanted to be on campus so that I could see the various things that had been planned for the morning and, although I wouldn't be able to see when the royal party made their grand entrance as I had to be in my seat at the Fashion Show, I wanted to experience the build up because I knew the atmosphere was going to be insane (in a good way). Thankfully, my friend Stephy agreed to come with me and, due to the fact that we arrived at 6am, she had a great chance to grab an excellent vantage point.
The atmosphere was a mixture of sheer excitement and anticipation, which just kept intensifying as more and more people arrived on campus. There was a great sense of community and everyone was so friendly towards one another. For that one day it didn't matter what you studied, whether you were a member of staff or a student or if you were young or old, everyone was looking forward to the same thing and that's what united them. I know it sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo but it's completely true and I definitely think that DMU has a different vibe after the visit than it did before. So, thanks for that Your Majesty!!
There is a ton of information about the royal visit on DMU's website, Facebook page, YouTube channel and on Twitter under the #royalDMU hashtag. Plus, there's a complete breakdown of my experience on my own personal blog, so check it all out!!
Follow Priya Mahida on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PriyaMahida