So, here it is, the promised graduation post.
I graduated last Friday (21st October 2016). My ceremony was in the afternoon, which was good for my family because we had a two hour drive to Winchester, so we didn’t have to rush. The drive to Winchester was remarkably good; there was literally no traffic, which I think was a first in 3 years, and my anxiety was controllable.
Once we got to Winchester we parked, got into town and went to the Guildhall to collect my robes, however, I then realised I had forgotten my guest tickets at home. Thankfully, it was a common situation and my dad sorted it out while I collected my robes (and fought off a panic attack).
The next couple of hours were a blur of walking, photographs and anxiety before the ceremony. My guests were seated in the Cathedral by 1pm, and I milled outside for a bit before also going in. My anxiety was really high due to not knowing what I was doing, and honestly I felt faint for most of the ceremony.
The ceremony itself was fine, and quite fast paced. I managed to get across the stage, shake Alan Titchmarsh’s hand and talk to him without anything awful happening! He even gave me a personalised message for my nan! Alan Titchmarsh is the Chancellor of my university and is a pretty famous gardener in the UK. After the degrees were given out, there was a brief musical and dance performance before a hymn, and then the graduates walked out of the cathedral to later be joined by family. After the actual ceremony, I spoke with my tutors and friends for a bit with lots more pictures being taken before dinner and a drive home.
I’m guessing that I’ll feel better about attending in a few years. While it was a nice day, it was a big reminder of the struggles I went through and the people we had lost, and so, while I’m glad I went, it was still quite difficult. It kind of has emphasised to me that I don’t want to do a Masters for a few more years though! It’s finally real now; university is over, and it’s time for the next adventure.