As I’m writing this, I’ve just found out that I will be graduating from Aberystwyth Uni with a First in my History degree! I am so over the moon with my result and it’s good to know that all my hard work paid off, but I can’t help but think ‘now what?’. I logged onto the website to find out my results and now.. that’s it?
I had been looking forward to my graduation, it’s the day you work towards throughout your degree, the right of passage that symbolises you entering the “adult world”. As someone who really struggled with being at university, graduation was the end point in my mind, something I focused on to get me through really tough times, a day where I could celebrate my achievements and get all dressed up with my family and friends. That was, until coronavirus.
Lockdown came at the end of the final year of my undergraduate degree. It halted my lessons, cancelled my exams, and postponed my graduation. I had just begun to enjoy being at university after having really struggled over the years and nearly dropping out several times, but it was all taken away from me in the blink of an eye.
I had planned to go travelling after finishing my degree so that I could take a break and figure out what I really wanted before entering the “adult world”. It was something I had dreamed about for years, but of course, that had to be cancelled too. With my future plans up in the air, I had no idea what to do next. Should I get a job? Should I take a postgraduate course? There were so many questions and none I had answers to. I applied for some postgraduate courses to give me a sense of security as I waited in limbo for my results, and to see how lockdown panned out.
For the class of 2020, our graduation plans have been turned upside down, many of us won’t get that final night out on the town with our uni friends, or the obligatory dissertation photo outside our university building. It’s easy to focus on the negatives of this situation but there are some positives too. I decided that the best option for me was to continue studying until the world returns to normal. I’m actually glad that I was forced to rethink my future plans because now I’m going to be doing something I actually want to do, as opposed to the graduate jobs I applied to because I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m not the same person that I was before lockdown, and this experience has opened my eyes to want I really want from life.
So today, I’ll don my fake graduation cap and raise a glass of prosecco to the end of my degree, it may not be the graduation I was expecting, but I’m proud of my accomplishments and the fact I got through one of the hardest experiences of my life. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.