After a three year build up, it’s no surprise that the day of graduation has some big expectations attached to it. After all the blood, sweat and tears (many, many tears), that went into achieving our degrees, you do kind of hope to finish on some big finale that epitomises all of your time spent at University. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the case. That’s not to say that the day was disappointing; it just isn’t the big firework show you had in mind. Here’s the realistic version of graduation…
If you’re unlucky like me, and happen to have your graduation at 9:30 am, then it’s a distressingly early start, especially once you factor in all the time you spend faffing around with your hair and makeup and any additional travel time.
Then, if you’re super unlucky like me, your graduation will happen to fall on the day after a big rain and thunder storm, despite the fact that IT’S MID-JULY ON THE SOUTH COAST FOR CHRIST SAKE!
Anyway, the storm left the muggiest, grey colour in the sky and continued to dribble miserably all morning, wasting all that effort spent on hair and make-up which could have meant an extra hour in bed… but never mind.
Aside from the washed out make up, the flat hair sticking to the side of my face all day, and the painful blisters that appeared on all sides of my feet after 10 minutes in those heels; the dull grey skies also really destroyed any picturesque opportunity, especially when the backdrop just happened to be Building 4 – known to us students as the ‘council flat building’ behind Nuffield.
So yes, maybe the weather was awful; the early morning was awful; the scenery on campus was awful; I looked awful… but graduation was not awful, and here’s why:
The day is exciting because you made it! After all those long nights of breakdowns after your fifth cup of coffee, trying to finish before the impending deadline and thinking to yourself that you don’t stand a chance in hell of making it through to the end of this assignment, let alone three years of assignments… you did it. Not only did you make it through all that, but so did a good 100 other people, and the masses of people filled with relief and happiness makes everything else going on seem a little irrelevant.
The ceremony itself was both pompous and wonderful. As many students said on the day, it was just like being at Hogwarts! Your moment on the stage is short and sweet, it’s nothing to worry about or get worked up over – don’t focus on whether or not you will fall – but instead focus on being up there and being honoured for your hard work. If you don’t, those 5 seconds will pass you by without you even getting to appreciate the moment for what it is – a celebration of your achievement.
Lastly, the best part of graduation is hearing the names of your friends called onto the stage. Being there to support and share the experience with the people who made your university experience incredible is an unbeatable feeling. Don’t be ‘cool’ and miss your graduation, because you’re not just missing your own graduation, but you’re missing out on thanking and supporting everyone, from peers to staff, who have expanded your outlook and improved your life massively over the last three years.
So was graduation really all I had dreamt and more? Well, no. But it had some important perks and it was a worthwhile experience that I will always be thankful for.