Course, Graduation, Portsmouth, Study

Graduation

I write to you now as a graduate of American Studies from the University of Portsmouth. What an amazing achievement that is; I am very proud of myself.

I graduated on Tuesday 15th July 2014. It was a beautifully sunny day, and I’m pleased the weather remained that way for the rest of the graduation ceremonies. Many pictures were taken of me in the Guildhall Square and Victoria Park by my mother, father, sister and girlfriend who accompanied me on the day. About 2pm we walked into the Guildhall; guests were seated on one side of the hall, while graduands* were seated separately.
*a graduand is someone who is about to receive their degree.

The ceremony opened as the University mace was carried with great grandeur into the hall. The Vice-Chancellor made an opening speech.  Rows of us were ushered backstage, then began the march of students across the stage. I felt very nervous as we queued and slowly edged closer to the stage. All of a sudden it was my turn. Dr Ann Mater called my name. For a moment I didn’t think I could move, but suddenly my legs kicked in and my body was drawn as if by some kind of magnetism, towards Sandi Toksvig’s outstretched arm. I couldn’t believe that for a minute moment I was smiling and shaking hands with the famous broadcaster, our University’s Chancellor.

I continued walking back around the stage, then took my seat as the ceremony proceeded. I’m not sure how they can get through so many people in such a short space of time! I felt a great sense of pride sitting with my successful coursemates in our fancy black and purple gowns.

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Once all the graduates had been confirmed, Sandi made a very funny and empowering speech which really made me feel positive for my future life after Portsmouth. The academic staff, in their own colourful robes, left the auditorium smiling. Then the guests and graduates proceeded outside. More photos were taken amongst much throwing of tasselled caps, and I was pleased to see a few more friendly faces outside. After my robes and hat were returned, I headed out for a celebratory meal of South American food at ChimiChanga, which I thought was a fitting end to the day.

Overall, it was an amazing day, and the warm weather made it all the better. I always thought it seemed a bit silly, all these people prancing around in stuffy gowns, yet there was a real sense of relief and achievement on the day; a feeling of final closure. My fleeting seconds on stage are a blur to me now, so I’m pleased that all the ceremonies can be seen again online.

On Saturday 19th July I attended the Graduation Ball, held at the Students Union. Still the weather held out for us. I particularly enjoyed the classy live music, group photo booth, shisha, food stalls, bars, face painting, silent disco and club room. It was another amazing night of celebration, and a chance to say goodbye to my classmates on an informal basis. After six hours of partying my feet had given in, meaning I didn’t make the survivors photo at 5am. Nonetheless, what a memorable night it was!

There’s not much more to say now. After three years of hard work, I felt the graduation day was well earned. It’s a day which will stick in my mind forever.
I did it!

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Architecture, Course, Reflection, Study

Third Year is Approaching. Fast.

I’m finding it very hard to digest the thought that I am now what is known as a ‘third year.’ The fact that I have completed two years of my degree already is so scary, and actually really sad. It feels like only yesterday that I was moving into A-1-1 of James Watson and meeting my flat mates for the first time. Despite the fact I lived with the most amazing bunch and complete mix of people in my first year, I never really knew my place, within my course or my accommodation. I always felt as if I was just ‘bumbling along’ but I never felt entirely comfortable. This year however, has been a difficult year for many personal reasons but on the whole I feel like at the end of Year Two I’ve finally found my place. I know this time next year I am going to be absolutely devastated to be leaving.

I’m not quite sure what it is that has made this year so fulfilling. I think perhaps moving into the new wing of Eldon Building, which had been specifically designed for my course, has been a factor. It really feels like a second home in there now, we have our studios with cupboards to store belongings and work, we have sofas and tea and coffee making facilities’, a fridge and a microwave. You literally could live there if they allowed it! When we moved in after Christmas it became a lot easier to get coursework done and I really felt like I got into a good, productive routine.

Architecture is unlike a lot of courses because we spend an awful lot more time in university than others. We have a ‘studio day’ where we’ll be in uni for the whole day, working in groups of around 20 people. A lot of people choose to work in studio at other times of the week as well, which means you end up getting to know people a lot more than just the odd ‘hello’ when you see them in a lecture twice a week. We’re a pretty sociable bunch, and I’m really lucky to have such a close friendship group within my course. We all tend to help each other out as well, particularly as it nears hand-ins and everyone is getting stressed and tuning into panic mode, it really helps having someone to reassure you who actually understands what you’re going through. I have relied on my course friends a lot this year, it seems like there is someone in the group to fit any purpose, someone for advice, others to make you laugh and cheer you up and others you can sit and chat for hours about absolutely everything with. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for my incredible friends there is every chance I wouldn’t have completed this year. I’ve had such an astonishing turnaround since Christmas, I now don’t want to leave!

I’m currently trying not to think about the fact I only have one year left at University. All I can say to any fresher’s, or even second years, is to make the most of your time at Portsmouth. Take any opportunities you are given, the time you spend here will go so quickly, and they are years you will remember for the rest of your life.

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