It was 10am on a Tuesday morning and I had awoken with a sense of excitement niggling at the bottom of my stomach.
The day I had pined for since unwillingly moving out of my student house, waving goodbye to the town I had called home for 3 years and surviving the emotional goodbye to all of the incredible new friends I had made, had finally arrived – I was heading back to my University town of Canterbury to (reluctantly) graduate.
Still being just as poor, if not poorer than we were when we were students, we decided to save a few pennies on accommodation by spending our first night camping on our University sports grounds (luckily we weren’t caught) before moving into a student house which we were renting for the remainder of the week.
What better way to soak up the countryside and sunshine than going back to basics, eh?
After carefully searching for the perfect spot to enjoy our indulgent picnic of scotch eggs, crisps, chicken and mushroom slices, doughnuts and custard pies, we settled overlooking a picturesque cornfield.
Going back to our student routes, we drank a selection of beer, boxed wine and prosecco (Asda’s finest) as we watched the sunset over the cornfield and reminisced about how unbelievable our time at University had been.
After waking up at 7am with a heavy head, in what felt like a sauna, we realised that we had the troublesome task of collapsing our two pop up tents (a task which was not as easy as we had expected). We wrestled the tents for a good five minutes before deciding the only resolution was to shove them forcefully into the back of my car half collapsed.
Following this, we became increasingly aware of the fact that we were homeless for the next 7 hours.
So, where better place to rid of a hangover, freshen up and dose ourselves with caffeine, than, you got it – McDonald’s.
After finally getting the keys to our house in Parkwood – a first year student housing area surrounded by charming countryside and cute woodland creatures, we settled over a disposable BBQ of ‘gourmet’ burgers, hot dogs and beer, relishing everyone being back together again in the stomping ground where our University lives began… and would subsequently end after graduation (cue tears).
The day of graduation was upon us and the weather was sensational. Although, perhaps not for wearing the formal black gown and hat all graduands must wear to graduate.
As I stepped into the Canterbury Cathedral grounds I was swooped up into a whirl-wind of historic beauty.
I had been to the Cathedral many times before graduation day however, that day its outstanding elegance and beauty sparkled.
The hundreds of people floating around in their gowns looked like a snippet from Hogwarts and the magnificent architecture of the building was radiating as much as the proud parents and graduates-to-be.
After taking A LOT of photos we were shimmied through to a side room draped in just as many historical carvings and intricately painted, iridescent windows as the rest of the Cathedral.
Here, we were lined up, and to our surprise were given an MC to ‘hype’ us up for the 2 hours clapping we were about to endure (who would have thought it – an MC in one of the oldest historic land marks in the country, I had to chuckle).
Once we were successfully ‘hyped’ it was time for the ceremony to begin. At this point my nerves began to set in, my impractical heels began to slip of off my feet and the fear of falling over in front of the entire Cathedral was all I could think of.
However, as we entered the congregation my nerves dissolved. We were greeted by a harmonic brass orchestra and familiar faces, which all beamed with the achievement of graduating.
After cat-walking my way down the center of the Cathedral to collect my certificate and successfully not falling over (yayy), we enjoyed a humorous speech given by the comedian Harry Hill (he was being granted an honorary degree) which even included a very entertaining but not so traditional ‘selfie’.
As I emerged from the Cathedral and admired the families and friends congratulating one another, I felt a sense of achievement, a sense of maturity but also a sense of disappointment – it was over.
It is undeniable that I had the most amazing time at the University of Kent and couldn’t have asked for a better city or a better group of friends to have shared it with.
Despite my disappointment that it is over I must keep reminding myself that this is the beginning of a whole new adventure… The globe-trotter has just become the globe-trotting graduate.
Watch out, gap year #2 here I come!!
To all you recent graduates out there. Be warned this song may make you cry…