Just a little over a week ago, I graduated from The University of Nottingham with a 2:1 in English and American Studies (Joint Honours). Whilst I'm aware there are probably an abundance of graduation posts currently flying around, I thought it was important to me to post about the day and my experience with University in general.
The ceremony itself was so well organised, impressive and somewhat overwhelming. The hall in which we graduated had been transformed into a Harry Potter-esque environment, and the stage looked really majestic, with two HUGE screens next to it to capture each student's walk across. Naturally, as a highly clumsy and uncoordinated human being, I was terrified about falling or doing something stupid, but luckily my moment went without a hitch. It was lovely to be reunited with my friends on my course, especially my pal Jess who really kept me sane throughout the three years at Notts. It was also a little sad not to be graduating with a few friends who went on a year abroad to America (who will graduate next year) and those on the English side of my course (I graduated with my home school-which was American Studies).
'Dress as if you were going for a job interview' was what we were told in an information package sent before the day. I chose to totally disregard this advice, and go with an outfit that made me feel totally fucking awesome, because that's how I wanted to feel when I walked across that stage after three years of really really hard work!! I firmly believe in the mantra that if you feel confident in what you're wearing, you will come across as more confident on the whole, especially in those extra nerve-wracking moments. The skirt is from Warehouse; somewhere I rarely shop but sometimes spot the odd piece. I just paired this with a little River Island crop and some classic Zara strappies. Makeup wise, I painted my nails with Essie 'Fiji' and went for my fail safe look of a darker eye and nude lip (but let's not even talk about the epic fake tan FAIL- I am definitely not a pro in this area hahaah!).
If I am being completely honest, (and that is what I aim to be on here!) University was a massively bittersweet experience for me. I think we as young people are propelled into this mindset that Uni is the only path for us and that whilst we are there everyone around us is having the time of their lives, which in my opinion just isn't always true. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad I went to University, and loved my life at Nottingham (if any of you are considering studying here, DO IT!!!). I met some amazing people, did some really cool things, and came out of it with a degree I am so proud of. But along with all the good came some not so decent people (cliques of girls in first year can be shitty), a very tough work regime, and some other struggles which I guess many 20-somethings go through. It can also sometimes be a bit difficult being so far away from home, although I eventually learnt to enjoy my independence and thrive in the freedom living outside of a family home can bring.Some of my happiest moments came with the girls I met & lived with in second year, and through the work I did in third year with the University magazine, Impact. I will forever miss the partying, girly chats, and even the exam-cram all-nighters which I shared with my beautiful flat 6 girls last year (you know who you are!). Special mentions also to Jess and Hannah, my two best course friends, who are just the biggest babes ever. When all is said & done, I will desperately miss life at Nottingham and the amazing people I met along the way.
I guess what this post is trying to explain on the whole though, especially to people who are about to go to University, or are already there and finding it a bit tough, is this: University is a wonderful experience, but it can be full of downs as well as ups, so take it as it comes and know that if you are not "having the time of your life" 24/7, or going out partying every single night, you are most definitely not alone.
LASTLY, as a literature graduate, I wanted to search for a piece of writing which talks about University life from a writer I really respect. If you are a recent graduate I urge you to read Marina's Keegan's short essay 'The Opposite of Loneliness'; it's one of the most beautiful (and tragic- Keegan was killed just days after her own graduation) things I've ever read and just makes so much sense.
P.S. If you've got this far after my massive ramble, THANK YOU & WELL DONE