The only phrase that I find fitting to mark this moment in my life is “Geez, Louise.” With a mark of 70.8%, I just managed to squeeze myself into a First Class Honours degree from the University of Portsmouth. So, this is it. I am done. In less than a month, I will be an official graduate. My profile picture will, no doubt, see me dressed to the nines in a cap and gown. Education is over. I think it is fair to say that I am chuffed.
It still hasn’t quite sunk in that this is the end. I think it will really hit me in September when I don’t return to Portsmouth. I am an adult now. I will never have a summer holiday again, or a Christmas holiday or an Easter holiday. What is Half Term? Reading Week?
A thought that keeps popping into my mind is, “Did I make the most of university while I was there?”
I found a quote from the 1994 film Threesome that perfectly summed up my time:
My college experience wasn’t what I had planned. It bore no resemblance to the pictures in the brochure. But I’m not unhappy. I don’t think any of us are. We got what we needed out of it.
I had so many expectations for university. I expected to fall in love with my future spouse. I expected to become this beautiful, cool, funny girl that everybody wanted to be friends with. All the things that movies say will happen to you. One day, you will return from your summer holiday and puberty will have finally done right by you: you’re beautiful, thin, hilarious and everybody falls head over heels with you.
I thought that I would change at university but what has actually happened to me is, potentially, far better. Instead of becoming that other wonderful woman, I have learned to accept myself for who I already am. Yes, I’m a bit odd with an exceptional (and, at times, creepy) memory. My body will never be proportionate and I will never have the perfect nose. My sense of humour isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but, for some people, it is the best. I am intelligent. I have some common sense. I can hold a conversation with strangers, even when I feel nervous. I can use my initiative and figure things out for myself. I don’t have to rely on people but I have people I can rely on if I need to. I am not a bad person. I am not a ‘weirdo’ or a ‘loser’. I am me and I am okay just the way I am.
My time at university has had its fair share of challenges. There were times when I was incredibly close to leaving. I can only attempt to say how thankful I am that I didn’t. I met some of the most wonderful people to have ever graced this earth. I have made some of the best friends anybody could ever have. I have learned new skills. I have tried new jobs. I have discovered what I like to drink. I have discovered that I am very good at cooking, especially pancakes when I am somewhat ‘under the influence’. I have learned that I am a good friend, a good daughter, a good companion, to name a few.
I am a better person for my time at university and I feel utterly blessed that I have had the opportunity to explore myself so thoroughly over these three years. I have learned so much about myself that I love. University was the best thing I could ever have done, and I am only sad that it took such a long time for me to see that.
A massive congratulations to anybody graduating this year. Class of 2016, you are beautiful.
Until next time… That’s all, folks! Xo