I recently graduated with a degree in English Literature and Creative writing, something I am so happy with. After three years of hard work, long hours in the library and the occasional late night study, I am so grateful for my ever expanding love of literature and all of the things I have learnt, but I have also graduated with so much more than a degree.
I somehow managed to end up in a new society each year trying things from photography to journalism to music to ballroom dancing. I’ve loved my degree but I’ve learnt an awful lot more than how to read. It’s been three years of embracing challenge.
I’ve realised that ‘student’ is pretty much synonymous with ‘innovative’. Whether it’s being innovative with meals when there’s limited food in the cupboard or crockery when the washing up hasn’t been done. Innovation and creativity are things every student picks up along the way with the frequent need to be independent on few resources and little money. Fancy dress is one of the key moments where initiative is required. Over the past three years, I’ve got to be a fairy, Jesse the cowgirl, puss in boots, an acrobat, a zombie, a pirate, Where’s Wally, a 20s flapper and a gingerbread man just to name a few. But with limited resources, it’s been a challenge but it’s always been fun.
Most recently, my friends and I got to dress up in silly hats and long gowns. It really was a fabulous day, with friends, family and more photos than you can shake a stick at, we could finally say, we made it. We could say that those horrendously unsociable hours in the library were worth it and celebrate all the good times that went with them. There were some people that didn’t get to see me graduate that should have done but they did get to see some of the things that really mattered along the way, the things that got me there.
Among just a few of the best moments, were coming forth in a national brass band competition, staying up all night to celebrate and then coming home to share it with all my family. The same happened when I came home and got to share the feeling of running out on stage to jive in front hundreds of people after months of practice, I can’t describe that feeling but it was amazing to see my family watch it and be a part of it too. But one of the highlights was not phoning home or even watching live recordings when I got back but standing in Lancaster Castle singing carols surrounded by my family, as I got to share one of my favourite events with them.
I’ve also had the privilege of learning an invaluable amount and growing immeasurably in faith, the one blessing and challenge that, while trying new things each year, remained constant throughout. It’s been such a joy, the fantastically encouraging people, the fantastically fun times and the fantastically inspiring challenges both being part of the Christian Union and my wonderfully welcoming church. And as incredibly proud as I was to stand with my degree certificate and shaking the Vice Chancellor’s hand, it was faith, CU and church that got me to my next adventure. I couldn’t have got there without my degree, originally my only intent on going to university but it wasn’t the only thing. Sometimes it’s the things you aren’t expecting that are equally great and exciting.
Some of my family weren’t able to see me graduate but they were the reason I did. I will be ever grateful for everything and everyone that shaped me and particularly the things I got to share. Mostly I am thankful to God, getting me here and giving me opportunities I couldn’t have dreamed of three years ago. I Wouldn’t have given any of it up for the world 🙂