Written by Thia Gayle – Student Writer

Taking the stage in front of thousands of proud fellow graduates, families and friends, graduating from University, you can’t help but feel a huge sense of pride………

You reflect on how far you have come throughout your three years at University. Going back to when you first started, you were an 18 year old fresher student who came straight out of college and was about to embark on a whole new chapter: the world of university. You were understandably nervous about how you would cope with various aspects of university life such as making friends, living away from home and studying as you didn’t know what would lie ahead.

Despite your nerves and anxiety, you found ways to settle at University and made the most of university life. You created great memories with your best friends from sharing jokes and laughter everyday to having spontaneous movie nights in your shared accommodation. If it wasn’t for your friends, university wouldn’t have been as fun! For those who lived away from home, you would have established newfound freedom and independence. You had the freedom to party as much as you wanted to without having your parents around to stop you. If that wasn’t freedom and independence, then what was? You had to manage the pressures of studying as you had to constantly write essays which reached certain word counts by certain deadlines over the three years. This meant you spent hours and hours studying in the library or in your room (occasionally having sleepless nights!) to ensure you produced the best pieces of work by the deadline. All your hard work and determination paid off because it led to this very special day which you will remember and cherish for many years to come.

Now all of the sudden it hits you: you are no longer a university student. This brings a whole range of emotions. You feel saddened knowing you will no longer be seeing your best friends every day. If you lived away from home, you will miss the newfound freedom and independence you gained (There will be no more waking up at 1pm in the afternoon when you have to start work at 9am in the morning!). You feel on top of the world knowing you have worked extremely hard to earn your degree and made your loved ones proud. You‘re filled with fear because you are about to enter the unknown and you don’t know what the future holds for you.

But as your time at University officially comes to an end, another chapter is just beginning as you will soon realise the world is full of endless opportunities to travel, work full time, form new friendships and relationships, volunteer and pursue further studies which you are yet to discover with your very own eyes………..