So on Monday I completed my three year undergraduate degree and graduated with a 2:1 in English Literature and I’m not gonna lie, it was the best day of my life. I’m not one to push university and to be honest, I do think degree’s often aren’t the ‘be all and end all’ with many careers. I decided I wanted to go to uni after my mum’s graduation – seeing everyone in their cap and gowns so full of pride made me so emotional and I knew I wanted that for myself. So on Monday, my years of hard work paid off and it was worth every second of stress and every penny of the imaginary money that funded my degree. University provided me with the best years of my life so far, I’ve made friends that I know I’ll keep for years, experienced things I never would have imagined and changed as a person. It’s SO CLICHE but uni really does change you in ways that getting a career straight from college doesn’t – I still think it’s mad that at nineteen I moved out and into a city center flat with seven strangers! It’s been an absolute ball though and I’m so glad that I made the decision to get a degree (even though, like I said, I don’t think its 100% necessary career wise).
There are some things though that you don’t expect on graduation day like for one; HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO QUEUE!!! My graduation ceremony took place at half nine in the morning (karma for missing every nine am lecture) and therefore, my schedule read that I had to be at the Guild to collect my nap and gown by half seven. Once I’d recovered from the shock of finding this out I soon came to realize it was completely necessary; over 450 people were graduating at the same time as me and can you imagine how long it takes everyone to get in a cap and gown? NIGHTMARE.
Then there’s the ceremony. Once all the ponce and speeches and inaugurations blah blah blah are completed, you’re so excited and nervous and buzzing to get on the stage (or in my mind silently praying you don’t fall in your heels), that you somewhat forget how long you’re waiting to be called. Plus, listening to the reader attempt not to cock up anyone’s names is a bit of a time killer. However, once you’ve had your moment of glory owning the stage and strutting across it like you’re the only graduate in the room, it becomes so boring. Who cares who else is left to get their degree, you’ve done your bit and now you need a glass or ten of prosecco. And your hands start to ache from all the clapping, queue clock watching until the final name is read…
The cap and gown. I’ve waited years to don the cap and gown and when I did I felt so proud of myself and seeing my mates in theirs made me emotional too, like we’d all finally matured together and were ready for adulthood (completely wrong, we were in a beer garden the following afternoon, but still, it was emotional at the time). Jesus Christ though, they’re an absolute ballache and so weird. The gown is heavy and mine had a fur trim which given that the ceremony was held on a hot July day, was definitely not ideal. Plus, they have a weird hood and arms actually attached which if you wear properly, makes you look like a death eater from Harry Potter. Fuck me, the cap is a nightmare too. I tried five different ones on before having to basically screw the one I’d settled for into my skull on with kirby grips. Not comfy. Plus they’re not flattering at all, whether that be because I’ve got an especially large forehead or what, they’re not great.
HOWEVER, despite all of these kooks, it’s still a great day. Friends, family and classmates gather around and the celebratory feel is truly magical. The sense of achievement you feel being one of those ‘special’ people in the cap and gown is so amazing, it made every struggle getting into and through university worth it. It was a day I’ll never forget for sure (even if that is because I’ve got kirby grips still in my head…).