Thursday, 24 July 2014

Graduation!

Yesterday was a huge occasion for me. I graduated from my university with a first class honours degree. It is  a bizarre feeling to see three years' of work acknowledged in just an hour, but it was a fitting end to my years at university and the end of my undergraduate degree. I never dreamt that I would graduate with a first. I would have been thrilled with a 2:1, and when I first saw the decision on my exam results I actually presumed that they'd made a mistake. I am particularly pleased that I also achieved a first in my dissertation, which I worked tirelessly on and felt especially attached to. There is nothing more frustrating than working endlessly on a piece of work that you've grown to love without achieving the desired results, and I am beyond delighted that in this instance I was awarded with the results that I had longed for. My years at university haven't been easy, but they certainly been enjoyable, and the course was fascinating. I can't put into words how grateful I am to the staff at my university for the support they provided, and I can't recommend them enough. It is also especially wonderful because everybody I know appears to have done remarkably well.



Graduation is a ceremony that you look forward to for an immensely long time, to the extent that it takes on momentous proportions. I have spent at least a year worrying that something would go wrong, that I'd fall up or down the steps, or just generally make a fool of myself, but thankfully, I managed to trip over at my seat rather than on the stage! The ceremony itself felt incredibly long and was a little on the dull side in places, but was nevertheless a fitting end to my studies. The weather was good too, it was incredibly sunny and very, very hot! It was nice to see everyone from my course again after so many months. The only negative experience was during the official photos (which are shockingly expensive!) as I fainted when I was having my photos taken. It was so, so hot and the heat combined with the packed room, the lack of air conditioning and my heavy black gown took its toll a bit. The photographer was incredibly nice, and found me a chair in a cool part of the room and fetched me a glass of water without being asked to, which I thought was really kind.



After the ceremony we went to get a drink in a nearby bar (a coke with as much as ice as possible for me to recover from the heat) and a bite to eat. We then went to visit my Grandad and meet up with my sister before going out in the evening with my cousin. We had dinner at my favourite restaurant. The waiter asked what the occasion was, and my Dad told them that I had graduated, and at the end of our meal they presented me with a cake and a glass of champagne and sang a graduation song which was really sweet and kind of them! The food was delicious.


It was a very long and tiring day, but incredibly enjoyable, and one that I will remember for the rest of my life. I'm sad that my undergraduate degree is over and that everybody on my course will now be going their separate ways, but I'm incredibly grateful for the experience.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Sunshine and Castles

The time between ending university and beginning my masters degree has really been quite strange for me. In many ways, it's nice to have finally finished my undergraduate degree and it's exciting to be starting a new university and a new course, but I've also been feeling like my life has been rushing past and I've just been watching as it slips through my fingers. In an effort to feel more in control of my life, I've decided to start setting myself little goals and to use my time more productively. Right now, England is going through a little heatwave, and it's incredibly hot. Unfortunately, it isn't a nice sort of heat. It's heavy heat that's incredibly uncomfortable. Nevertheless, I thought it would be a good idea to go out and enjoy the sunshine before the school holidays begin and interesting places are flocked with children.

Elvaston Castle is one of those places I've always loved. I used to visit Elvaston all the time when I was little, and it will always be special to me. It's a beautiful, peaceful place and  it's perfect for a quiet walk. Unfortunately, the castle was undergoing maintenance and the scaffolding ruins a few of these photos, but I think you can still see how tranquil it is. Some of you may remember that I've posted about Elvaston Castle before here.



My favourite part of Elvaston is the lakeside walk. It's incredibly serene and it was surprisingly empty. We did meet a cute little squirrel who became quite attached to my sister after she started feeding him crisps (I was not aware that squirrels like crisps). Some of the flowers were spectacular, and seeing everywhere in bloom is my favourite aspect of summer. 



Today is testament to the fact that I should truly make more of an effort to visit places with my camera, because I had forgotten how much I love exploring even familiar places with my camera. I'm hoping to get out and visit a few more places before summer is over and university begins! I also graduate on Wednesday so I'm hoping the sunshine lasts!

Have you been anywhere interesting recently?
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