SO I have finally reached the end of a huge chapter in my life – education… And wow, it certainly does feel so surreal.
For the past 21 years I have been growing and growing and learning and learning. I have travelled and leapt from nursery to school to college and then finally to University and it has certainly been one hell of a ride, filled with countless moments of both ups and downs.
But if I was to sum up my entire University experience, as a whole, in just two words, I would definitely have to describe it as – successful but truly unforgettable.
Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of one day graduating from University – dressing up in the famous cap and gown and also shaking the hand of a Chancellor with sheer pride, joy and determination.
And just over a month ago, I lived to see that single dream come true and it certainly was a truly memorable day which I will never ever forget.
For my whole three years of studying at Teesside University, year by year I watched graduates roaming the streets of Middlesbrough – with their heads held high. Dressed all formal and professional in their caps and gowns, I could not wait for my moment to arrive. But this for me, especially at the start of University, felt like a life time away.
Firstly, I had to fit in to University life, meet new people, make new friends, become known to my lecturers for my hard work and determination, sit through hundreds of lectures, watch and listen to a countless number of presentations, complete mountains and stacks of coursework and sit through stressful yet silently filled exams. University was certainly one huge steep mountain to climb but I knew once I eventually reached the top, my heart would be filled with relief.
When my last ever assessment piece was handed in towards the beginning of summer 2014, my heart pounded and a collection of thoughts and emotions raced through my mind uncontrollably – relief, happiness, worry, fear and sadness. After all, I eventually reached the beaming bright light at the end of the ‘education tunnel’.
Once my three years of University were complete, I could not wait for Graduation!
Teesside University celebrate their graduation a few months down the line after the completion of University, unlike many other Uni’s from across the country, who tend to let their students graduate immediately. Therefore, Graduation date felt like a life time away (even though it was only a six month wait).
University, for me, ended at the end of May 2014. At this time all of my University friends headed back to their home towns which at first felt strange and upsetting. But as time gradually went on, things got easier and I finally found myself settled back in to Sunderland rather than spending the majority of my time in Middlesbrough.
Towards the very end of November 2014 my Graduation day finally arrived. The night before I struggled remotely to sleep as a collection of emotions bolted through my mind. I also allowed one single prayer to race through my mind, repeatedly… “please don’t let me fall over my gown on stage tomorrow” – the thought of tripping over my graduation gown absolutely terrified me!
The next morning I woke up to a dull, grey day and I thought, “typical”. But I wasn’t going to let the weather ruin this truly unforgettable day.
Both of my parents and my sister had the privilege of attending this ceremony with me, which made me feel totally ecstatic – my whole life I dreamed of celebrating this day with them and no one else.
We arrived in Middlesbrough within plenty of time which allowed me to meet up with old friends and also take lots of photographs – photographs which I will hold on to forever, as great memories.
The time of my ceremony finally arrived and I was separated from my family, as they were seated in the upper circle of Middlesbrough Town Hall.
When I entered Middlesbrough Town Hall hundreds of intelligent, smart and sophisticated students filled the room – each wearing the famous cap and gown. My heart melted as this felt totally surreal. Seated with the students I’d spent the entire last three years of my life with felt great. I felt a sheer sense of pride for each and every one of them as we’d gone through this entire journey of University as a team – looking out for each other and fully supporting one another along the way.
The ceremony began and a few rows of professionals filled up half of the stage, a few of whom made a heart felt speech about Graduation. The next stage was watching each and every Teesside University graduate nervously take their final steps across the stage, shake the Governor’s hand and receive their certificate.
When it was finally the turn of my course, we all rose from our seats, shaking nervously, slowly walking to the back of the stage alphabetically.
Finally, my name was called… “Kayleigh Carr”, my heart dropped and began to beat uncontrollably. The first few steps on to the stage were difficult, quite possibly, the hardest steps of my life, but then I was suddenly welcomed on to the stage by a warm, loud and extremely proud cheer by my family who were watching from the upper circle. This made me feel extremely happy inside and a very happy smile swooped across my face. The moment of shaking the Governor’s hand and receiving my certificate suddenly felt like a life long dream had finally came true… WOO!
I DID IT!
I finally graduated from Teesside University with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism with a Second Class Honours Division One (2:1).
Now, don’t worry the celebration didn’t stop there, oh no… On the night of my Graduation my family took me for a lovely Italian meal, situated right on the heart of Roker Marina’s scenic view.