Dear Swansea University

Wow, where to begin. I'm still on a high, if I'm honest - I graduated this week and I'm still smiling and in genuine shock. I'm not used to waking up and seeing my degree on my wall (yes, I'm that extra that I frame it, and no, I'm not sorry).

If I were to be completely honest, I didn't think I'd ever graduate. I always told myself I wasn't smart enough to be there and I doubted my abilities academically. The last three years have changed my perspective on so many things, I can't even begin to comprehend it.

It was a surreal moment, waiting in the auditorium and waiting in the wings before my name was called. I was shaking like a leaf, but I was smiling. After the amount of times I've been told I couldn't do something, I actually did it. Going to university took so much choice and thought, because dealing with horrific anxiety made this choice so difficult for me. Numerous times in first year I contemplated dropping out and not going back, but there was something in my head telling me to stay. I followed that feeling, and I have no regrets.

What has being in university taught me?

 In numerous ways,  it's taught me so many different things that I'm forever thankful for. 

Academically, university taught me:
  •  How to manage time effectively (for the most part, I still definitely did essays the day before...)
  • To not have majorly high expectations. I'm only one person with one brain, and I can't expect myself to get everything perfect. I'm human, I'll make mistakes!
  • So many transferable life skills that I use now in my job
  • That I doubted my educational abilities so much

On a personal level, university taught me:

  • That no matter how hard things would get, I had an amazing support network and if I just speak out, I can be heard.
  • Friends are so important! You can't go through 2-5 years of university without a good friend network. It makes things so much easier (especially when you're all stressing about work and message them with 'pub' every two seconds until it works)
  • That sharing your feelings makes a problem seem less big

I won't sugar coat it: the last 3 years have been hard for me, academically, emotionally and mentally. If you're a reader of my blog, you'll know this. I've been faced with so many challenges of various difficulties and through the hardships, I've come out the other end. I'm happier than ever, my confidence has soared... It's like I'm a different person compared to the shy and anxious first year I was. I didn't expect university to be easy, but I was willing to fight and put the effort in needed to be where I am. I cannot thank my university, course leaders, personal tutor, family and friends enough for everything they've done for me, from the long video calls home, to having essay meetings that were mainly chats about random things and personal life. It's been an extremely life changing experience, and I wouldn't have changed my time at Swansea University for anything.

The pride I have in myself at the minute is overwhelming. People may not think graduating is a big deal, but to me it's meant everything. I put myself down so much, and even others have put me down. This just goes to show that I can do things if I put my mind to them, and I'm bloody good at persevering and giving things my all.

I'm proud to say that I'm a graduate. Swansea will always be another home to me, wherever I am in the world and wherever life takes me.

Thank-you Swansea University, you've been incredible.