For the past week people have been asking me “What does it feel like to finally be a graduate?!” My answer “No different” But I think that could be a bit of a lie… more likely denial.
I left Cardiff almost a month ago now, and anyone who has been around me during this time has had to endure a constant Cardiff comparison, and an ongoing complaint of how rubbish life is without my beloved city.
Last Tuesday was my opportunity to re-visit the place I have called home for the past three years, one last time as a Cardiff University student. I’m not going to lie, it was probably one of the most stressful days of my life. From my father forgetting his suit, the lack of parking spaces in the hotel, my feet being ripped to shreds the night before by new shoes, absent parents for the professional graduation photos; it was one disaster after another.
Nevertheless, once all the drama was over and all there was to do was to receive my award from the Vice Chancellor of the university and watch my fellow colleagues graduate with me; I felt a great sense of calm.
The ceremony was fantastic (albeit long), and a moment I shall never forget. Some of the ceremony was performed in Welsh, and at that moment, I felt a great surge of pride for my University and all it represents, despite not understanding the language.
Having my parents there to witness my graduation was the highlight of the day. Like most parents, they have only wanted the best for me and I know they’ve always had high hopes. I’m just ecstatic I have managed to not only fulfil my dreams, but also theirs.
My graduation was to mark the end of an era. An epic era. I was re-united with familiar faces once again, but only to say goodbye, and to wish farewell to not only a university who had looked after me for the past three years, but also a lifestyle which has shaped who I am today.
As Stephen Fry said when he became a fellow of Cardiff University, they call graduations ‘commencements’ in America as it is only just the beginning, and so this is how I shall continue.
So when I answered “No different” to that all important question, it was a lie. In fact, I feel sad, excited, lost, bewildered, ecstatic, ambitious, but most of all proud.