I cannot believe it. After all the hard work, the heart breaks, surviving and overcoming depression, finding and losing friends, the hours in labs and the long nights writing my dissertation, I have now graduated from the University of Nottingham with a 2:1 Masters with Honours degree in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry. Chuffed doesn’t begin to cover it – it feels surreal.
My actual graduation was on Monday the 17th and I think my idea of what graduation was going to be like was fairly spot on – being told to wear a ridiculous outfit and paraded around a hall to shake a rich man’s hand. But even I had not envisioned the big special stick (I’ve since been informed that it’s a ceremonial mace by my wonderful friend Zoe, whose blog can be found here) and the video shown on the big screen which focused in on the audience’s faces (it got a few giggles).
When I was on the stage and finally handed that beautiful piece of paper with my degree award on, I felt my heart light up. Suddenly a big wave of emotion washed over me and I started shaking. I made it back to my chair with a big grin on my face and just stared at that bit of paper. If the uni had made a mistake then it was too late to go back now! My 2:1 was official and any last remaining wisps of anxiety about my degree left me completely.
After the ceremony, I piled my plate high with celebratory veggie wraps and cakes (and got some disapproving looks for it) and went to sit with the six lovely people who had come to watch me graduate.
First were my parents – who have supported me through my ups and downs without hesitation, and despite being the craziest two humans I (and many other people) know, they have been my rocks. My little sister Ems was there too, and she is as much my best friend as my sibling. Where would I be without her wisdom and hilarious chuckle?
Ross, the love of my life, essentially traveled the length of the country to be with me too. I’m glad he did, because he is like my human stress ball since he just makes me smiley by being around him. Despite living apart this last year, he’s been so supportive of me and has helped me through in so many ways.
My grandma was there too, and it made me so happy to see her with a big smile on her face! She was proudly telling people that I was her third grandchild out of four to graduate (Ems you’re next!). My auntie also came along, and I’m so glad she did because she helped complete our little graduation gang.
It felt so right to have these six people, who were so pivotal to my eventual success, with me. It was their graduation and achievement just as much as mine. There were only three people physically missing – my wonderful grandads and my other grandma, but I always feel part of them with me and I know they would have been incredibly proud (especially since I didn’t have pink hair in my graduation photos, ha!).
Thank you as well to all my other friends who have just made me happier, healthier and more motivated to get through my degree. You are all one in a million, and you’ve helped me each in your own way just by being you.
Now is where it gets exciting. I’m 23 years old and ready to take on the world (my back up career plan is a super-villain). I’ve got a couple more months working in retail (where I must say I am excelling at ear piercing if anyone is interested) and then I am off travelling with Ross around Europe! After that, it’s a bit more uncertain but I have more faith in myself than ever before.