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Goodbye!

I’ve been a part of the Student Blogging Team for my whole three years at the University of Portsmouth. I’ve really enjoyed the experience!

It is my hope that what I have written might be informative to you should you decide to study at Portsmouth, or are even considering attending university.

Choosing a course and deciding to come to university are difficult decisions, and I know there can be a lot of pressure on students from family, friends and schools as well as financial concerns. Make sure your decision to come to university is well reasoned, and make sure you don’t hold yourself back once you’re there. I’ve come to realise that university is a very special time, so make the most of it while you can.

There have been many ups and downs during my time here. So many, in fact, that I could never write enough posts to cover my entire journey. At least you might have a flavour of my progress from what I have written. For me, my blog posts have provided a lasting memory of my journey and my progress. I’m very pleased I did it.

Personally, I feel that university has been a great decision for me, and has set me in good stead for an exciting life ahead.

I hope your university experience will be as life-changing as mine has been.
Best wishes for the future,

Blake
07 August 2014

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The journey doesn’t stop!
My blog continues here: http://nearlyreality.tumblr.com/

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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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Course, Study

Dissertation: done

Friday 25 April has been highlighted in my calendar for a while now. By 12 noon, all dissertations for this year had to be handed in. I’m pleased to say, for once, I didn’t leave it until the last moment – though I do feel I cut it close.
After a last minute meeting with my tutor on Thursday, and then several more hours finishing and printing my work, I was able to hand in my dissertation at 2.45pm – one day early! I’ll let you know how it went when I receive my results.
All that stands in my way to graduation is a very long project and two essays, and only two weeks to finish it all. It’s funny though, because no matter how stressed I am right now, I know I will miss this when it’s gone.

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Course, Free time, Study

Work overload

Although lectures finished in March, sadly this month has not been a relaxing time. With all the work I need to complete, plus thinking about post-graduation plans, my stress levels are maxed out. My room is a mess with books and papers, my mind is a jumble of words and thoughts.

By Friday, my dissertation must be bound and submitted to Park Building. That moment will be scary, but also a great relief! But it doesn’t end there. The following week I have to hand in an essay which I’m finishing now, and an entire project which I’ve yet to start. Following that will be my last ever deadline: one final essay.
And, then, it will be over.

All that will remain will be the joyous time of the Graduation ceremony and Graduation Ball in July. I’m very excited about these celebratory events. For the moment, I just need to focus my energies on the work at hand.

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Blake's View, Course, Study

The Final Run

I suspect like many students, I thought this day would never come. Not quite graduation, but getting pretty close to it; this is my final ever week of lectures and seminars at university.

It isn’t the time yet for a full reflection on university, considering that I have two essays, a 4,000 word project and of course the good ol’ dissertation to hand in very, very soon. However, to know that this is my last official week of university is a gasp-worthy moment. To say those words, “the final week”, is really quite strange. For a moment, it feels as if the floor has dissolved under my feet, and I’m floating in an out-of-body-experience type moment. It doesn’t seem possible.

All I can say to anyone considering a degree is that, on the first day you step into a lecture, it seems you have a long way to go. When you’re studying furiously for an assignment you should have started weeks ago, it feels as if the workload will never end.

I’m here, nearing the end of that journey. It does end, and much too quickly.
I’ll give it one last burst of energy.
This is the final run.

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Clubs and societies, Course, Free time, Nightlife, The city

Chaplaincy

Located on the ground floor of the Nuffield Centre there’s a space called the Chaplaincy, and in today’s blog I wanted to highlight this great place.

Chances are that many students are not aware of it. It’s a quiet, interfaith area, where students can relax on sofas and beanbags to chat or chill-out in a peaceful and civilised environment. Fairy lights strung up the walls and classical music playing gently in the background give the Chaplaincy a hospitable feeling. There are even free tea and coffee making facilities – useful to know when your wallet’s empty but you could do with a hot drink to help you recharge! If you ever have time in-between lectures and don’t have a place to turn, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the Chaplaincy. Just respect that it’s a quiet place, and it should stay that way.

Take a look here to find out more. The Chaplaincy is a place for people of any faith, or none at all. Although I’ve never met with a chaplain myself, they’re always around to speak to if you have any problems, and you don’t even need an appointment.

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Course, Free time, Nightlife, Study, The city

That Library Feeling

I must admit, I had never really used a library before I came to university. If I ever wanted to know about something when I was at school or college, I would always turn to the internet. I thought libraries were boring, stuffy places. Yet since I’ve been here at Portsmouth, I have started to enjoy my visits to the university library.

At first I was a bit intimidated; finding a single book in this gigantic place unnerved me. But it wasn’t long before I  had mastered the library’s e-catalogue, and now finding a relevant work is second nature. The more time you spend in the library, the more you realise what a wealth of knowledge is waiting to be uncovered. Sometimes it’s just fun to search the catalogue for a random word and see what comes up. There are books on everything! The new computerised system for withdrawing and returning books makes the process even easier, and is kind of futuristic!
You can easily lose track of time flicking through the daily newspapers on the ground floor, or observing the informative displays, which change regularly – a recent one about LGBT celebrities caught my attention. The library retains a powerful energy. Sound and time seem repressed and muted, yet the building is a meeting place for everyone in the university, and that vibrant aura permeates between the rows of tomes. It’s almost as if you can see the energy, like the dust particles sparkling in a ray of light on a sunny afternoon.

Now, when I want to find out more on a topic, I turn to the trusty library. Every time I leave that great building, my backpack laden with heavy books, I get a strange twinge that I’m a student. It’s a good sensation, scholarly and strangely optimistic. The library feeling strikes again!

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