Graduation Day

It’s the weirdest thing when you attend an event that signifies the end of an entire chapter of your life.

Three years amounting to one day: graduation day. Three years of late nights labouring over video edits, long hours spent scouring the crowded library shelves and dusty book jackets for articles and journals that hold quotes you ‘just need’ to complete your already toppling pile of assignments: three years of new friendships, relationships, of happy tears and emotional tipping points. Three years. All being wrapped up in the shiny red bow that is graduation day.

I manoeuvred through the bushes of university life and emerged virtually unscathed. Sure, I had my moments: my days and nights where I wanted to rip my hair out in frustration – assignments where I wanted to do anything but focus on them and classes where I would literally have rather do something I despise than actually sit through them. But I did them anyway. Okay, lets be real, I did some of them anyway: except the assignments part. They’re kind of mandatory.

On the other side, though, I looked back and realised: the whole point of university is having those moments and persevering anyway, isn’t it? It’s being greeted with obstacles greater than you have before and knocking them out the park because guess what? You’re better than them. You’re better and stronger and smarter and more well-equipped now than ever before to take on each and every nag and annoyance that you face during university life and ace it. And I think, when you emerge the other end of those problems, if you can recognise how that has changed you and made you realise your own capabilities then it makes that university experience all the more worth while. And that’s truly one of the best things about it..

Graduation day is a great day for reflection: for looking back at not just what you’ve achieved at University but also at what you achieved throughout your entire career in education: from high school to college to the first, second and third years of University that got you standing where you are that day: complete in gown and cap, your hands getting clammy with nervous thoughts of whether or not you’re going to trip in your newly bought shoes on your way across the freshly waxed stage to collect your degree certificates.

If I had one piece of advice for anybody entering University, or about to attend their own graduations, it would be: savour it. Really look at those moments and memories that you’re creating – especially when something in the moment you might see as embarrassing happens, don’t shy away from it, don’t run for the hills in red flush humiliation: laugh at it. Never take yourself too seriously. Because in the end, when you look back at moments that may have seemed like the end of your life back then, you’ll see them in clarity – perfect, laughable clarity: and take it from me, they’ll be so much better if you hadn’t let yourself get too worked up during them.

From a very new graduate taking his first swimming strokes in the sea of adult life,