What my Degree Means to Me


Yesterday was one of the biggest days of my life, after three years of working hard I received my final university grade. Waiting made me anxious. All I could think about was this one sentence that would define my last three years of university. It is funny how all this hard work ultimately comes down to collecting a tiny piece of paper with some writing on it. These words would either make people or break people. These words could make the strongest people break down in tears, but ultimately it is a piece of paper with a grade written on it - nothing more, nothing less. The true wealth of the degree is what you have learnt in the last three years, the experiences that make you a different person from the one that walked through the door three years ago.

When I started university, I was shy and had very little confidence in myself or my writing. I went to university with the expectation that I wouldn't amount to much. My family are all from trade backgrounds and none of them have been to university before. Most of family were skeptical about how beneficial a degree could be. They came from a time where college training was all that was needed to obtain a managerial job. My family have had amazing careers - opticians, accountants, translators and none of them have been to university. As times have changed, it is harder to get anywhere without a degree. It can happen, but it is hard work. When I started university, I was on a mission to show them how a degree could really benefit my future and three years later, it has had a tremendous impact on my life.

Yesterday I was told that I would be graduating university with a BA Hons First Class Journalism degree. My tutors would agree with me when I say that when I started university, I could barely scrape a 2.1, never mind qualify with a first. When I received my results, it took awhile for it to really sink in, I checked it three times to make sure I wasn't dreaming and then screamed the house down. I did it, the girl that thought she would be an underachiever got a first class degree. After all the excitement, the phone calls to the family and the obligatory social media updates, I sat for awhile and reflected on my last three years. One question came to mind, what does my degree mean to me?

Although a first class degree is an amazing achievement, just finishing the degree is an achievement in itself. It isn't about the piece of paper that I will eventually receive on graduation day, it is about how I have developed as a person and gone from someone who could barely string a sentence together, to someone who is confident speaking in front of the class, someone who can now write and someone who has ambition and is looking forward to the next step of her career. My degree is symbolic of the journey I gone through to become what I would deem as a 'proper adult'. I have obtained an understanding into the importance of education, the importance of living life to the full and most importantly, I have learnt that nothing will ever be achieved if you don't trust that you can do it. I have said it before, I have had the most difficult three years. I have spent the majority of my degree in and out of hospital with chronic illness, I have lost three people incredibly close to me within a year of graduating and I had to contend with my confidence levels all the way through university. My degree is a symbol that I made it. I can go through tough times and I can come out shining. My degree will always be more than a piece of paper, it was a life experience that I will never forget.

As my favourite band, Alter-bridge once sang:
 "If you believe in nothing else, keep believing in yourself, there will be times of trouble, it's gonna hurt like hell, this much I know, all ends well."
 For me, all did end well.


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11 comments

  1. Well done on your first! I remember being exactly the same when I got mine too, my arthritis had been so bad during my exams I just thought I'd get a 2:2... But I was over joyed with my first as well. I think the extra spur by the tough chronic illness things makes us work a little harder and appreciate things more than most :)
    Now enjoy the celebration from graduand to graduate! Make the most of your special day, I'll never forget my graduation :)
    MissPond x

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  2. Wow such an amazing post. I enjoyed reading about your journey through college especially as am going to university myself in a year. I am glad you made it :)
    xx
    Mia


    http://ssenescence.blogspot.com

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  3. Congratulations! University is so, so worth it. There are people out there who will try and convince each other it's for suckers who want loads of debt but everyone comes out with something they wouldn't get anywhere else :)
    Megan x | MeganRoisinn

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  4. Congrats on your degree. It's amazing how much three years can change one. Good luck for the future! :)

    Lola x

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  5. Ah congrats!! I haven't gone to uni but I'm slowly regretting my decision, I think having a degree would be amazing!!

    xxx | daisydaisyxxo

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  6. Congrats, this is so amazing and it's always so, so, so rewarding when all the hard work pays off.
    Kallie - But First, Coffee

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  7. You are seriously amazing. Congratulations on your degree - and all of the hard work you put into getting it.
    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

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  8. Aw I rememebr collecting my Uni results well - a brilliant result Jess, you obviously worked har and deserve it!

    xXx

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  9. So so proud o you, you have come really far! always dream big and you will get there! The hugest of congratulations :) x

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  10. Well done! And congratulations on your future from here on! xx

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  11. Incredible style and blog! :)

    I would like to invite you to my blog! I would be so happy if we support each other on GFC, Facebook and maybe Bloglovin! Just let me know when you do so!

    Blog | Facebook Page | Bloglovin | Instagram

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