My first realisation came when I arrived at the ceremony, it came the second my Dad and Brother started making jokes about all the bad things that could happen to me while I was on stage. Those jokes bought on a rush of nerves, short breathing and cold sweats; I was terrified I would somehow trip over my own feet and fall flat on my face in the middle of my now dreaded walk across the stage. The next rush of nerves came while on route to pick up my graduation gown and out the corner of my eye I could see my Dad taking an annoying amount of photographs. It was then that it truly hit me that in terms of family, today was all about me. After three years of hard work my parents told me how proud they were, my Mum actually started to tear up at one point. Then there was putting on the gown which sparked even more ‘proud’ moments, and trust me wearing the gown is no picnic; it constantly slides off your shoulders, it’s a lot heavier than you first think it to be and it’s so thick that you will feel like your sat wrapped in your duvet while sitting inside a fully heated oven. So along with the nerves of having everyone look at me for five seconds and the risk of falling flat on my face I also felt an overwhelming sense of pressure to try and carry on doing my parents proud, as well as feeling like I was slowly baking to death. Things do get slightly better when you see your friends there. What also helps you stay calm is the knowledge that they are all going through the exact same feelings as you; you feel much more relieved knowing you’re not the only one.
Then came the ceremony, which starts to feel much more important and almost regal when a procession of university VIPs walk in the room wearing shiny gold. Just as I started to feel a sense of self accomplishment, we were instructed to stand up and make our way to the stage; and along came the nerves and sweats again. Good look to the next person who has to wear my gown. The closer I got to the stage the more I could feel my heart in my throat, I could feel myself literally shaking and what’s worse I could feel my legs going weak. It wasn’t until I got about two people away from the front of the line set to go on stage to shake the Deans hand that I realised that this was my moment. All the nerves and all the stress you suddenly understand is caused by knowing just how important graduation is, not because everyone is looking at you but because you want to make the most of one the biggest days of your life. As soon as you begin to walk across the stage you seem to forget about everyone sat in front of you, and instead you get a strong sense of self achievement.
It isn’t just spending the day celebrating your achievement; it’s then getting to re-live the uni days of going out with your mates and having good old fashion drunken fun. All this combined made it one of the best days I’ve ever had. Sweating aside.