Long time, no see.
The last 2 months have been insane.
I submitted a 10,000 word dissertation, sat my last uni exam, packed up my student house, and today received my degree classification. I’m feeling overwhelmed and sentimental and nostalgic for a time in my life that isn’t even fully over yet, but that impending finality feels inescapable.
Throughout my degree, my tutors have encouraged the possibility that I be award a First Class Honours. It was a mathematically attainable goal, my grades were consistent and I thought I could do it, but I couldn’t. Today I found out that I’ve been awarded a 2:1, and while I’m mostly heartbroken, I’m also really fucking proud of myself.
The last three years have been incredible, but they’ve also been hell. I lost my mum, my mental health deteriorated into a shambles and I spent a solid portion of my time as a student wishing that I didn’t exist. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I developed an eating disorder, I struggled with self-harm, and my perfectionist nature took over my entire internal dialogue.
I’m not the same person I was when I applied to do a degree, I’m stronger and I’m weaker and I’m braver and I’m more broken, but I’ve met the most incredible people and experienced more love and support than ever before in my life. The things I’ve learnt span far beyond that of academia, and I was encouraged and accepted and loved for being unapologetically myself.
Uni enabled me to be completely at one with myself, to acknowledge my strengths and my weaknesses, to accept disappointment and to give myself a bit of fucking credit. This morning I was so heartbroken to discover my result, and I was terrified that my family and friends would see nothing but disappointment and failure when they looked at me. I felt like I’d let everyone down all over again, and I felt absolutely worthless.
I’d be lying if I said there isn’t still a part of me that’s completely gutted that I missed out on a First, but I think I’ve discovered something so much more valuable. I’m finally allowing myself time and permission to accept imperfection, and to take a long overdue step towards professional mental health care. I’m graduating next month with a degree in the subject I adore, but I’ll also be leaving a city that’s given me amazing friends, experiences and hope for a future that I never thought I would live to see.
I may not have succeeded in getting the highest grade, but I’ve succeeded in finding a purpose, a direction, and an understanding of myself. I finally know who I am and who I want to be, I have things I want to achieve, places I want to see, and I’ve finally found compassion for myself.
I’m emotional and overwhelmed at the endings and changes that will inevitably ensue over the next few weeks, but I don’t know what more I could have asked for from my uni experience.
I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved in the last three years, and I feel like I finally know who I am, or at least, who I want to be.