I cannot describe the medley of emotions that I have felt whilst being in the process of graduating from university. It’s been a countdown pretty much since revision for finals started back in April, and what at first seemed like an impossible task to complete has gone by in what seems like the blink of an eye, and on Friday I finally graduated! That’s right, I can now broadcast my achievement on my CV and LinkedIn profile, proudly stating that I have graduated from Bristol University with a BA (Hons) in Philosophy with First Class Honours. I’m feeling pretty amazing right now (along with terrified, incredibly insecure about the future, and just blimming relieved that it’s all over).

The last three years have seen me achieve a multitude of tasks, like writing approximately 30 essays; sitting 48 hours of exams; writing for the University newspaper; starting my own blog; working at a part-time job whilst studying; living with 18 different people; maintaining a long distance relationship; pushing my liver to its limit; performing at National Cheerleading competitions; going skiing with 1400 other Bristol students; creating an impressive cooking repertoire; and obviously meeting so many people who I would never have had the pleasure (in most cases) to meet had I not made the best decision I have ever made; the decision to go to Bristol.
Graduation itself was again a day mixed with a bit of stress, happiness, excitement, but also a lingering sadness that this era of my life is officially over. The rain helped to set a somewhat ominous tone. It’s typical Bristol to have four days of graduations in glorious sunshine then as soon as my day arrives for the heavens to open with a vengeance! Of course spending it with my family, my boyfriend, and some of my closest friends made it a very happy occasion, and looking back at the photos already has me feeling incredibly nostalgic. I’m going to be experiencing that feeling a lot from now on, methinks.

Now onto the question that has followed every single Congratulations I have received: what next? And my answer, which I’m sure many other graduates can empathise with, has consistently been “Uhhhhhhhhhh…” Because that’s the most accurate representation of what I have planned for the rest of my life! University isn’t for everyone, but it sure as hell suited me just fine. I loved the independence of it, and that’s one of the most valuable experiences that uni has offered me. Being able to literally dictate your own life doesn’t come that naturally at first, but now that I’m home with my family I can’t help but miss the freedom of studentdom that I won’t now have until I have a job and my own house/apartment, which I am paying for myself. No thanks! I’m not quite ready for that just yet…Up until now my life has been dictated by education, which has all been leading to this very moment. And now I actually have a choice?! I actually have to decide what I want to do? No! That’s something that has been a little question mark sitting at the back of our minds up until now, which has forced itself into the forefront of every single thing we do. Well, I’m not ready to answer that question. I’m home with my wonderful family, a brilliant degree in the bag, and free food, so I think I’ll be sorted for a while. I’ve recently realised that there’s still no rush to decide what path I want to take, and that maybe saying “Nothing” is an acceptable answer for a little while. I’ve spent almost 17 years of my life in hardcore education, and if I do say so myself I’ve done pretty well, so I deserve a bit of a breather.

If you’re a graduate, you’re most likely reading your own thoughts. If you’re not, or you’re going to be at some point in the future, then I hope this somewhat prepares you for the day when you’re asked “What next?” and there isn’t a pre-written answer waiting, because there doesn’t have to be. I have the rest of my life to work, hopefully doing something that I actually want to do, but for now what I want to do is not work, so I’m going to treat myself by doing just that. Anyway, I’ve graduated! Thanks for everything Bristol, it’s been real x


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