I’m graduating tomorrow!
The time has come to bid a final good-bye to the University of Warwick. I can’t quite comprehend how quickly time has flown over these past few years, but tomorrow is the day that I will be receiving my final results and graduating (in absentia) from the place I have called home since 2017. By this time tomorrow, I will (hopefully) be celebrating the finishing of my degree in BA Politics and International Studies (PAIS).
I’m feeling a lot more nervous than I thought I would. Despite the ‘benchmark’ or ‘safety net’ that has been set by the University (meaning we can’t get lower than our average due to Covid-19), I’ve still felt increasingly apprehensive and jittery about receiving these results. Due to the ‘safety net’, I know that I can’t receive lower than a 2.1, and this definitely helped to ease the pressure and stress during the “exam” (or exam-replacement assessments for us) period. But, I can’t help but still feel a little bit shaky in the run up to tomorrow.
I think the most nerve-wracking part is not having a clue how I would have done in the assessments I submitted, and in my dissertation. As they were ‘exam-replacement assessments’, it’s a lot harder to know whether you did a good job or not, as they weren’t to be marked as normal essay assessments (coursework) or exams. Basically, we’d never done anything quite like it before. As someone who’s always performed a lot better in exams, also, I can’t help but feel as though I might not have done myself justice due to not being examined in this way this year. It’s definitely been an ongoing fear that my results will be really affected by the change in assessment. Equally, my dissertation also panics me as I still feel as though I’m not sure what makes a truly ‘good’ dissertation, and whether I managed to put one together. But, fingers crossed.
Of course, now is quite a bizarre time to be graduating, what with no actual graduation, no graduate ball or any formal celebrations. It certainly feels a little surreal and anti-climatic, like it’s not really happening. I am, however, really excited to celebrate my graduation with those I’ve been closest to over the past few years, as we are still currently living in our student house together in Leamington until the end of the month. At least we will still be starting and finishing this experience together.
We decided we couldn’t let this day go to waste, and that we must still make the most of the celebrations and mark the day as it deserves to be marked. I think the plan is to all gather in the morning and wait (hopefully not too long) for our results, followed by getting ready into what would have been our graduate ball outfits in the afternoon and celebrating with plenty of prosecco. Then, we’ll all be getting a nice takeaway in the evening and getting changed (again) into our second outfit of the day (yes, we have organised two different outfits) to continue celebrating into the night. At least, regardless of the results that we all achieve, it’s bound to be a lovely day, and the perfect way, given the circumstances, to see off our University experience. Plus, I know I’ll have more celebrations to come at the beginning of next month when I’ll be returning home with my family and friends.
So, today I’ve just been trying my very best to stay calm, and to keep myself occupied, mainly just pampering myself, planning outfits and decorations for tomorrow, and watching some of my favourite shows. I’m just hoping I manage to get at least a little bit of sleep tonight! On the bright side, we’ve been told the results will be coming in from 10am tomorrow, so at least we can still have a bit of a lie in (or try to).
Looking forward, it’s scary to think that I don’t know what’s to come. As I was supposed to be, in 2 weeks time, flying to Vietnam to undertake a placement at an NGO and continue travelling across Asia afterwards, I now don’t have any plans for the time being due to the current situation. As someone who’s always had something lined up, and known what my next step is, this is terrifying. It really feels like I’m stepping into the unknown, as from when I move home at the end of this month onwards, I don’t really have a single plan. I think some of my nerves surrounding results are probably tied into this, as I think this really gives a sense of finality and ending to this chapter of my life, and I just don’t know what the next one will hold yet.
At the same time, the current situation has given me plenty of time to continue to prepare and plan my travels, and to start to think more carefully about my future career and what I want to be applying for. I’ve also been working on a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course to try and keep myself occupied, and to (hopefully) enable me to both work online, and travel in the future, whilst teaching.
With all of this happening, it’s definitely been a period consisting of a lot of reflection regarding my University experience. I must say that, regardless of the results I receive tomorrow, I am over-the-moon to be leaving University with an amazing degree from a respected University and department, a fantastic group of friends and some of the most incredible memories. Not to mention, studying PAIS over the past few years has truly altered my world-view and way of thinking, and (as silly as it sounds) has really shaped me as a person. For all of this, I will always be grateful.