A little post about graduating.

This time last week I had just graduated. I was emerging from Keele University’s Chapel no longer a student, but a graduate. Not to mention, three days away from being unemployed too.

A day or so after my graduation I took to Facebook to write one of those awkwardly sentimental statuses about leaving Keele. It had, after all, taken up three years of my life. It had been my life. This is the status (see also: essay) I posted:

I’ve not done one of these emotional, sentimental statuses yet because I went straight to bed after graduation celebrations yesterday, and have been working all day today! So…

Other than my last KeeleSU Bars shift tomorrow night, I’m done with Keele. At least for now. I’ve had the most amazing three years, and it hasn’t exactly been easy, but I couldn’t be prouder of myself for graduating yesterday – and with a first class honours degree no less. I have made some amazing friends, and worked with a group of people who feel more like family after two years. People really do make a difference to your experience of university.

Third year has been an absolute roller-coaster. I’ve loved being Concourse Editor, and tried my hardest to do well by the team and Keele’s student body. I spent a lot of the year thinking I could have done better, and wishing I’d done more, but it has been such an honour to be leading a publication with such history. Getting involved with KUBE this year has been pretty ace too On top of that, I kept my job on the bar, was an RSA, and wrote two dissertations – I think that’s something to be proud of, right? I’ve struggled a lot with my mental health this year, and I’m not surprised. I put a lot of pressure on myself this year, but everything’s coming up Tunstall right now, and I’ve been smiling a lot since I handed my last piece of work in 

I’ve been telling people that yesterday was the most stressful day of my degree, and anyone who saw me might have noticed I was crying, or was about to, or already had been.Truth be told, it was all so worth it to celebrate with my family. I’m so appreciative that my mum drove all the way from Liverpool and around Stoke’s one-way systems for two days, that my nan came despite being ill, my sister brought Summer up from London, and that Ryan took two days off work to once again prove how much he is part of our clan (and for pushing nan’s wheelchair around, trooper).

To get a bit sad and stuff now… when I was fourteen and my dad died, I made a list in my head of things I would have to do without him. You know, wedding day, having kids, that kind of thing… but graduation wasn’t on the list. Maybe because I never expected to make it through uni, or because I didn’t realise it would be such a momentous occasion, but it was hard as hell doing it without him. I’m not a religious person, but I do have the feeling that wherever he is he was looking down on me and sharing the moment with us. Totes emosh, yeah.

I’m going to miss Keele. I’m terrified to leave, but if I clung on and stayed for a Masters it wouldn’t be the same without so many of my friends who are graduating this week. In fact, the ones who graduated last year have shown me that.

What’s next for me? Well, I’m moving down to London soon to be with Charlotte, Ryan, and Summer, and attempting to weasel my way into the publishing industry. I’m also thinking about an MA in Creative Writing a couple years from now, perhaps. To all of my Keele friends: please stay in touch. If you don’t hit me up when you’re in London, or plan to come down so we can do some stuff, I’ll be loads disappointed. Not prepared to let go of friends just because I have to say goodbye to Keele!

I received quite the response to this, more than I expected. Comments saying I almost had friends in tears, private messages admitting that I had driven a few people to crying. Mostly, I was shown an overwhelming amount of support. It seemed that, although I was only one of thousands and thousands graduating as the class of 2014 across the country, many of my friends saw fit to come out of the woodwork to let me know that they thought I should be proud of myself, that my dad would be proud too, and that they’d miss me.

That was a week ago. Since then I’ve worked my last two (rather busy) shifts behind the bar at KeeleSU, I’ve packed up all of my belongings and come back to my mum’s for a bit, caught up with family members with my sister and niece, and had a bug of some kind keeping me in bed for a couple of days.

I’m bored. I need a job. It’s as simple as that. I was the kind of student who got involved with as much as I could fit in: I undertook two dissertations, was Editor-in-Chief of our student magazine, a Residence Support Assistant looking after the welfare of 750 people at a time, I was a senior member of bar staff at KeeleSU, and I liked to poke my nose into the student politics of Keele wherever I could. I was involved in other societies too, and most importantly… every couple of months or so I took a day or two off to travel home or to London to see family. It wasn’t enough, and I wish I’d spent more time with them over the last three years.

Right now, I’m sat in bed, trying to find the energy to go for a run, because I need to inject some activity back in my life. There’s also nothing quite like exercise to kick off a good routine. Maybe if I manage to get back into one soon, I’ll post another book review. That would require me to stop marathonning Grimm though, (it’s too good and Netflix is sapping all of my motivation) and I still have another season and a half to finish. It won’t take me that long.

Most importantly, I’m looking for internships in publishing. I have a week of work experience lined up at the start of September, but following that I’d love to get any kind of insight into publishing that I can. I understand I need to put the hours in and show dedication and how hard-working I am before I even get a look in for a paid job, but I’m happy to do that. I’ll be sure to keep posting about my progress where that is concerned. Until then, it’ll probably be reviews, and maybe a bit of fiction if I’m feeling brave!

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