Today is the anniversary of an absolutely amazing day in my life. Graduation Day. This day is the culmination of at least three years of hard work for a whole degrees worth of people, and longer for some. Graduation is the day when everyone gives you a big pat on the back and says congratulations.
For me graduation meant that I had overcome a number of challenges and managed to do what a lot of people thought would never happen, I got myself a degree and a good one at that! My whole family came to graduation, my mum, my dad and my brother. We all got dressed up and got excited. I also graduated on the same day as my housemates, so it was a day of celebration for all of us!
So early on the morning of 20th July 2016 my mum and I got all dolled up in our graduation outfits and headed to the University of East Anglia early doors. Mum and I drove first and the Dad and Chris were catching a taxi later to join us so that we had at least one car on campus.
We arrived and I got all gowned up. It was good to see all of my uni friends again. We got capped and gowned and went to Congregation Hall for the ceremony to begin. We were all sitting in alphabetical order, meaning I was sitting next to a guy called Calum. Calum had been woken by his parents that morning at 7.30am when they arrived to take him to the university. He had only got in from a night in at 6am and was basically still drunk. It was absolutely hilarious. When our head of school got up to talk, Calum leaned over to me and said “Who’s that, I’ve never seen him before”. When I said it was our head of school, we’d met him on the first day of the course he said “Oh, I was took drunk to go to that, guess I’m ending uni as I started it, at least I turned up this time…”
When we went up to get our awards, there was the nervous walk across the stage, made worse by the fact that I had decided to wear heels for the first time since breaking my leg. I made it safely across the stage and shook hands with my childhood best friends dad to receive my degree. The Vice Chancellor of the university is the Dad of my childhood best friend. Strange experience that one! I managed to catch my sleeve on the bannister as I was coming off the end of the stage, it was nearly a trauma, but I saved it right at the last minute.
So that’s it. I’ve graduated. I’m finished. Three years of work and I have a bit of paper to tell me that I got a 2:1 in International Development with Overseas Experience.
Then we went to a tent and ate cake and drank cheap fizz. The uni bit was over, time to celebrate with my family. As you’ll find out later, my parents divorced in year 2 of uni, so graduation was a little tense, lets just say that. My brother and my dad don’t always get on, my mum and dad can be civil and I’m the happy go lucky one in the middle of it all. We got the obligatory family photos, and I got my graduation photos and then I went off with Dad to celebrate with food and beer at my workplace. That evening we all went for a lovely meal at Middletons, where we cracked through cocktails and two bottles of champagne, it’s fair to say I celebrated in style.
While I was being sarcastic when I said that I had a bit of paper to say that I got my 2:1, that bit of paper doesn’t quite do justice to the amount of work and general stuff that any uni student goes through when they complete a degree. For me, first year was the bumbling of being away from home for the first time, finding a support system, working out how to reference, being assessed as dyslexic and spending a lot of time on crutches. Second year, it started to count and in the first month my parents spilt from what I thought was a happy marriage. Second year was my weak point. I was thrown from the start and did my usual thing of not really turning up and not really putting enough effort in. I managed to get away with it however and got through to third year capable of getting a 2:1. Something that seemed like a distant possibility at points. Between second and third year I complete three months in America as part of my Overseas Work Experience, only to be thrown straight back into day to day uni life on return. In my third and most difficult year, I broke my ankle, spent hours at the hospital two times a week for about 6 months and a hell of a long time on crutches. I managed to complete a dissertation in this time and scrape through with my 2:1. I have honestly never been so relieved to read the results page.
So there we go, three years of trials and tribulations celebrated in a day, a cupcake and copious amount of alcohol.
Now I just had to figure out what on earth I was going to do. Into the scary world of work and being a graduate… Congratulations Graduating Class of 2016, we got to throw our mortarboards