It feels as though I have been waiting forever to write the post but the day finally came – I am officially a psychology graduate from the University of Worcester! I honestly cannot begin to describe how amazing yet challenging the past three years have been but the fact that I got to walk up on that stage and graduate in front of my family was a dream come true. Naturally, this post is going to be a lengthy one all about graduating and the things I did to celebrate leading up to the big day!
To give a bit of context, I actually completed my degree in June this year and knew from then that I would be graduating with an Upper Second Class degree with honours (2:1). However, for some unknown reason the University of Worcester, along with a few others, do not hold their graduation ceremonies until November – so it’s safe to say that this had been a long time coming.
The graduation celebrations began when I was extended an invitation to the 2019 graduation dinner by the Chair of Governors and Vice Chancellor of the University! This dinner is invite only and for those who have made outstanding contributions to the university in their academic work, extra-circular or voluntary achievements etc. It was such as huge honour to be invited and it was a great (and very fancy) way to kick off the celebration week.
Next came getting ready for the big day. My grandparents booked us all rooms at the Travelodge so that we could go up the evening before the ceremony and there was less stress for us all. We headed to Worcester on Wednesday afternoon, checked in to our hotel and headed for an meal at my favourite restaurant – Miller & Carter!
We were originally set to go to Hickory’s Smokehouse but I entered a competition on Facebook to win a free bottle of Prosecco for a graduation meal by commenting a funny memory from university. I won the competition and so we changed our booking to Miller & Carter to receive the prize (the hotel is also literally next door so it saves us all walking to Hickory’s). The meal was so lovely and the perfect way to start celebrating with my family. Plus Miller & Carter beef dripping sauce is literally my favourite thing!
Just like that, the day we had all been waiting for arrived! My ceremony was at 1pm on Thursday 7th November followed by Alex’s at 3:15pm. Anyway who has come into contact with me during the three years of my degree will know how desperate I was for our ceremonies to be on the same day and I am thrilled to say that they were! Although due to the timings we weren’t able to attend each others ceremony, we got plenty of pics in our robes and celebrated the day together which was everything I wanted.
Before we left the hotel, I was overwhelmed to received such thoughtful and amazing presents. My family also spoilt Alex with presents and it just made my heart so full to know that they treat him as one of their own. We are both so grateful for the wonderful gifts we received.
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get enough tickets as you are only guaranteed two per graduate. Thankfully I was able to get three for my mum, nan and grandad and Alex got four for his family. Due to my dad’s stroke, he decided it was best for him to stay home and I am heading over to see him later to tell him all about the day and show him the videos and pics. I know he was there with us in spirit.
Everything was preordered ahead of time so we just had to take our confirmation to collect our robes etc. We tried our luck to see if Alex could get his at the same time as me and the lovely people were abel to accommodate us. It was such a surreal experience putting on the robes and wearing the mortar board. I’m not sure how to describe it but it was like I put it on and it suddenly hit me that we had actually done it and were graduating from university.
We got our professional photos done straight way – I literally hate mine but we got plenty of lovely photos throughout the day. We then decided to take a stroll over to the Cathedral rather than get the bus as we had plenty of time and wanted to get some pictures around the city as it is so picturesque. We were so lucky that the weather was perfect – for November we weren’t sure how it would pan out. It was a bright and crisp autumnal day I am absolutely in love with the pictures we were able to get throughout the day.
We are also incredibly lucky to get to graduate inside Worcester Cathedral. Obviously, graduating at any venue is a momentous occasion, but the beauty and grandeur of the Cathedral was something extra special. When we arrived we continued taking photos as a family and I know they are something I will treasure forever.
Having my family there to support me through everything I do is something I am so grateful for. They have done everything they can to help, guide and support me throughout the past three years (and my whole life) and even put up with me being a stress head in the morning. I am the first person ever in my family (on both sides) to attend university and I know that I made everyone proud. These three have supported both Alex and I more than we can ever say. They came to collect us from Worcester more times than I can count, have been on the other end of the phone when I have rang in tears when the SU/suspension broke me or the pressure of everything got too much, proof read any assignment I sent them, made sure my cupboards were stocked, attended every show, award ceremony, concert – you name it, they were there for me. I know everyone says it, but my family are definitely the best in the whole world.
Next come this fella. I am so blessed to have graduated my best friend in the whole world. We have been together almost 7 years (yikes), and 3 of those have been spent at University. When we embarked on this adventure together we had no idea what would happen but the outcome was pretty spectacular. He even shaved and wore a suit for the occasion which everyone (and I mean everyone) was shocked at. Can we take a minute to appreciate how good he looked?!
We moved into our first house together and spent 2 years in our own little home. We managed a society together by directing/chairing/musically directing etc and we made the most amazing friends and adopted the roles as uni mum and dad(dy). We stayed up all night because Alex had left his work until the last minute, got up early to support each other with work and placements, championed each other, celebrated our successes together and lifted each other up in turn when the going got tough (and trust me it got tough). I can say with absolute certainty that without Alex, I would not have made it to this point and even on the darkest days he was the rock I needed even if he contributed to the stress and 75% of his degree basically belongs to me! I love him so much and I am so thankful to move continue to the next chapter with him by my side.
Next I was reunited with my psychology gals. I am so grateful to have met these lovely ladies who made lectures and my time on this course so fun and memorable. From #dansfans and the farralley finger, to all the SPSStress and group work nightmares, these gals were there through it all.
A special shout out has to go to this lovely lady – Susie. My best course pal, all day library partner and just amazing person. I am so thankful for all of her support and definitely wouldn’t have had half the uni experience or success without her by my side.
The same goes for all of my lovely friends or second family as they are better known. They know who they are and I so wish they could have been there but I am excited to celebrate with them all soon. My little twin and Alex’s real love was working the even though and helped make the day extra special as always.
Once inside the Cathedral we took our seats and the ceremony began. My family got seats right at the front and it was so overwhelming and surreal to finally walk across that stage and graduate. My heart was beating so fast before my name was called but I didn’t fall over (a miracle I know) and now officially have my degree in BSc (Hons) Psychology and Alex a BA (Hons) in Prinary Initial Teacher Education Class of 2019 – We did it!
After the ceremony there were more pics, hat throwing and we were briefly able to catch up with Alex and fam before they headed into his ceremony. We then hopped on a bus to the arena were the reception was held. We had all the bubbly (literally had about 12 glasses between us), took more pics and caught up with lecturers and other course mates.
My family were little angels and waited the whole day so that we could all see Alex when he got back from the Cathedral. We were reunited with everyone and spent the last hour of the day catching up and basking in the glory from a truly amazing day. I definitely got my moneys worth out of the robe and wore it for the entire time they were available.
I realise this blog is now ridiculously long, so I will wrap it up but I know I will appreciate being able to look back and remember the day. I can’t put into words how strange and happy/sad it feels to say goodbye to the Worcester chapter. It has really been the most amazing and challenging thing I have ever done but I’m excited to see what the future holds.
Goodbye Worcester, you’ve been a blast.