The Graduate

On the morning of Thursday 22nd November 2012, I achieved something which has been the biggest goal that I have tried to achieve in my lifetime to date.

I’ve graduated from a BA (Hons) degree course in Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University and by doing so, escaped from a four-year hold of mental distress and ill feeling that made me look at my life in a completely different way to how I seen things before I began studying.

Sure, the classification of the qualification which I ended my time at university with is something that I still feel odd about, but I can now appreciate that I have gone a long way along my own personal journey by living independently and studying.

Throwing my cap in the air, and throwing my struggles away.

Throwing my cap in the air, and throwing my struggles away.

As a result, I’ve left Southampton with a permanent reminder of a great achievement which I didn’t have when I first arrived.

There are letters after my name, and I have my Desmond to cherish.

A lot has happened and whether I smile at the fact that I have met a group of people that have truly built friendships with me or whether I look back at the grades from assignments that shaped my final grade, the graduation ceremony which I was a part of is the conclusion of an experience which I will never forget.

Walking on to the stage at Southampton’s Guildhall was amazing and the chance to shake the hand of The Lord West of Spithead, the chancellor of the university, was something that seemed so far away when anxiety and depression blighted my studies and my outlook on life in general in April 2010.

The effects of breaking down as a person still affect me from time to time, but the main challenge to return to the Sports Journalism course and get the chance to wear an uncomfortable cap and gown is one that was too great to ignore.

Making good friends has made university life worthwhile.

Making good friends has made university life worthwhile.

Persevering was a skill that I mastered and when I dressed up to grab my certificate, I’m sure that you can tell from the photographs that accompany this article that I rocked the look and suited it well!

Apart from wearing the clothing, I wanted to prove a point to myself that I could overcome the distress that I felt two years ago and bring an extremely testing part of my life to an end.

I graduated, I had my photograph taken and I have got myself a Bachelor of Arts degree.

That seems pretty cool to write and as I’m always looking to prove the consultants wrong who told my mum that I would never “walk, talk or amount to anything”, this recent success has been a pretty big way of proving some supposedly knowledgeable professionals wrong!

After all, it would be boring if everybody was right about everything that they have ever said, wouldn’t it?

If a desire to complete a task and achieve an ambition is ever questioned, surely the best way to prove them wrong is to follow your heart and succeed when the happy moment eventually comes?

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