York, UK

I'm graduating uni!?!

July 06, 2018

The story of the past 3 years, and why you should never give up.

In September 2015, I began a three year course reading Bsc Business and Management at the University of York. I was going to do an apprenticeship, but after picking up some pretty decent results in my A Levels, I thought I could face the challenge of a degree pathway that Google and thousands of those horrible student surveys described as 'fulfilling' and 'educational'. 

I chose a degree in York because it wasn't London, because the management school was fab, but also because I could commute from home and save that $$$$$$. To be honest, I didn't think I could even get in to uni, with one teacher at my school telling me that with the grades she expected me to get, there was "no way I was going to university". Jokes on her, I guess, because this week I found out something pretty great. 

This week I found out I am graduating with a first class honours degree. Pretty decent for a girl who had her target grades thrown across the room as I wouldn't be getting them, right? 

But university wasn't plain sailing. It wasn't even sailing at all for quite a while, stuck on the rocks praying that my attempt at higher education didn't end up like the Titanic. I didn't want to sink, but I nearly gave up. Nearly. Did I sit in the student support office with the 'withdrawal from studies' forms all ready and signed? Yes. Did I hand them in? No. (mostly because I'd already paid for my first year tuition). But student loan repayments aside, I didn't leave university and I'm damn proud of that.

Because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to make my dreams come true. 

This week, I reflected on the things that made my university experience great, and somehow made me employable. Here's some of those thoughts: 

I moved to freaking DISNEY WORLD to work and play and make magic in the most beautiful and surreal place on Earth for three months, and thanked my lucky stars every day. I met the greatest girls ever, my little 8102 flat, my Denny's Divas, who have all moved onto great things all across the world, and I could fill many a blog post with praise about their many talents and skills. The Once Upon a Toy merch crew. The VIP CEPs, especially Amy who is a star and the biggest trooper I've ever met for surviving the J bus everyday, just every single person I met over there who helped to make my dreams come true. I miss it daily. 

I signed up to societies, to write for online newspapers, I fangirled over Taylor Swift in SwiftSoc, I managed to talk and discuss things with important people without being overcome by stage fright doing all those ~academic representation~ things you hear about but usually ignore. About three weeks ago, I stood on a stage and didn't make a fool out of myself at the Excellence Awards, and I didn't have wine to calm me down beforehand. I couldn't have done that without my degree. 

Of course, I couldn't miss out on the greatest uni pals I've ever met. Bronte, Alice, George, Jack, Vicky, Beth, Jess, Jo, Shannon, Evie - hi! To everyone else, this would be pretty boring if it was just a list and I HATE missing people out but hi to you too! Days sat in the Piazza and considering (and later eating) burritos would not have been the same without you all, and I'm gonna miss cocktails and Jack getting overly drunk and Alice bossing it with her volunteering hoodie every single day, love ya xx

And now I've got a grad job, and a start date, and I'm moving on from my part-time job in Costa where I've learnt more about coffee than I perhaps know about statistics (and that's an achievement). To think, in my three years at uni, I'd have three jobs in the space of seven months, then move into making (and finally drinking) coffee for nearly two years. Long live the up-selling of a medium OPS double chocolate cookie mocha frostino with cream from Spring 2017, I will never forget trying to pronounce you properly in a rush xx

I think I just want to say that if you're at uni, and if you're struggling, or if you don't feel good enough to stay where you are, or feel inferior to somebody else.. you're flaming special and you should think of yourself that way. Throw yourself into activities. Challenge your faults. Speak out when something is wrong, and don't settle for girl world politics. If you want to move abroad, do so. If you want to drop out, and it's the right decision, do it. Life (and uni) isn't plain sailing, but I made it to land, and the Titanic incident didn't happen. Believe in urself and buy that tacky Urban Outfitters mug that tells yourself so. I think that's what I want to say. It is what I want to say.

So... things will be posted more often here now the exciting rush of student debt (and discounts!) are over, at least I hope so. If you want to read more about my ramblings, follow me @xoliviamae on Twitter for frequent updates, I talk about Jennifer Lawrence and Dance Moms a lot, and would love to talk about them more. Did you know that Jlaw's middle name is Shrader? 

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