On June 12th 2015 I received an email that I was dreading for weeks (if not years): my degree result.
Thankfully, through a combination of hard work and a small miracle, I achieved “Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Management with Marketing Class II Division I” from the University of Exeter. Cue happy tears.
Graduation day (July 17th) rolled around before I’d had time to process the fact I had achieved one of my Bucket List goals: “Gain a University Degree at least at a 2:1 level”, and before I knew it I was back at university, in my robes, ready to collect my degree.
The ceremony was highly structured, although apparently only the graduates received programmes, so when my name wasn’t called (along with a third of my fellow students) and the ceremony progressed to ‘honorary degrees’ my parents worried that I had either lost my nerve or was ill, and wasn’t going to go up on stage – many of those seated around me received texts from their families to this effect. Just a suggestion Exeter, perhaps you could spring to a programme for the families, to avoid future confusion about cohorts.
After over an hour, it was time for my cohort to graduate. My name was called and I walked nervously (in my heels) up the steps towards the chancelor, Floella Benjamin, for her customary embrace and individually chosen words of wisdom. She said to me “that smile will change the world. Stay beautiful.”
Degree collected, I returned safely to my seat (without tripping) and enjoyed the rest of the ceremony.
Immediately afterwards, the graduates had to march out of the Great Hall for our photo opportunity. Since I was amongst the last graduating, I was one of the last to leave the hall, and therefore I unfortunately ended up in the front row for the photos – although thankfully there are a huge number of Management students, so I blended in quite well.
Group photo taken, I headed off to find my family to have my professional individual photo (which was hideous) and our family photo taken – thankfully missing the rush.
I then found my friends, congratulated them and we enjoyed a glass or two of champagne – the free aperitifs were brilliant – as well as numerous photo opportunities.
It was a fantastic day, and I enjoyed it much more than I expected I would. Congratulations everyone!
I am now officially a University of Exeter alumni – and unemployed graduate!
The day after graduation, my family and I headed for London to meet our friends for a celebratory dinner. We’ve been friends for 20 years, and their daughter Beth (one of my best friends) was graduating from Royal Holloway with a 1st in Psychology – seriously Beth, you’re amazing! – so we met for a weekend of celebrations, which began with champagne and lunch in Selfridges.
The main event was dinner at Benares, where we had a seven (eight for Beth and I) course meal, which was absolutely amazing. It was so lovely to spend some time with our friends, reminiscing about our pasts and talking about our futures. We love you guys.