The Sense of an Ending

19:06 Unknown 2 Comments

When I decided to begin writing my post-graduation blog, it felt a bit like traversing a mine field of clichés. It’s been an incredibly emotional couple of weeks and it’s been difficult not to get all dewey-eyed and oversentimental about the whole thing. Cynicism aside, the day itself was fantastic, and as you’d expect, a time for reflection on three pivotal years at University.

It was genuinely wonderful to see so many friends so upbeat, finally able to celebrate after years of hard work, deadlines and stress. That’s not to say the day itself wasn’t a *little* stressful. Between the erratic weather conditions that alternated between sunshine and torrential rain, and my (adorable) two-year-old niece scurrying around the reception area during a major sugar rush it was a pretty crazy day.

Unfortunately, my parents weren’t able to make it to the ceremony, so I was grateful when it turned out Brookes would be streaming the event live on their website. This meant that they too could see the five wonderful seconds I spent on stage collecting my degree. I’m honestly still surprised I managed to avoid falling over.

 The ceremony itself also featured a speech by Vicar of Dibley writer Paul Mayhew-Archer, who collected an honorary doctorate. I felt the need to mention this as he gave a witty and insightful speech, and it was a nice surprise on an already great day.
To be honest, one of my personal highlights was actually being given a slightly different robe to wear than the rest of my friends. I still have no idea why this was the case, but I’m clearly easily amused and it made me feel important.

My photogenic family

All this couldn’t have been more at odds with my attitude three years ago, when I received my A-level results. After barely salvaging some pretty mediocre AS scores, I managed to just about make it into my first choice University. While that involved some memorable celebrations as well, including going clubbing with my teachers after valedictory dinner, my merrymaking was accompanied by a vague sense of disappointment. College was a fantastic experience for me, but making the step up to University represented an entirely different set of challenges and opportunities. I didn’t feel ready at all.

It really has been a rollercoaster three years (I did warn about the clichés). Far too much has changed to explain succinctly. In relation to my degree, I like to think Brookes was where I finally knuckled down and started applying myself after years of feeling fairly indifferent towards education. Especially given that this felt like my last opportunity to tap into any potential I had for academia. In the end, I’m proud to think I succeeded in doing this, thanks in part to making the JHB my second home for large chunks of the year. At the end of it all it was amazing to graduate with a first class degree on what was a surreal day.

Before Brookes molded me into the man I am today

In spite of everything I’ve just written, I do think I probably don’t feel quite the same as a lot of other people who graduated on the same day. I’ll be continuing my studies in English Literature at Brookes at Master’s level next year. I’ll even be staying at Clive Booth Hall again, like I did in first year. This obviously meant that graduating didn’t represent the seismic shift in lifestyle or leap into the dark void of adulthood that it did for most others. Regardless, I will miss a lot of people who won’t be around next year and not seeing them on campus will be pretty bizarre.

Thanks for reading and best of luck to everyone who has recently graduated from Oxford Brookes!


  1. Congrats on graduating John, and best of luck with the Master's.

  2. Congrats on graduating John, and best of luck with the Master's.