Today - or technically yesterday - I got my degree results. I will be graduating on Tuesday the 10th of July 2012 with 2:1 in English and American Literature. I will officially be Lauren Elizabeth Jones BA.
I never, ever, ever thought that would happen. There have been so many times over the last three years when I've been on the verge of throwing in the towel and walking away. I pretty much hated the first year and a half of university with an absolute passion, and it was only in the latter half of my second year that I really started to enjoy university. One thing I know without a shadow of doubt is that I couldn't have made it through without all my wonderful friends - the ones who have been there since the first week, and the ones who have just recently come into my life. So to Emma, Katie, Sophie, Jack, James, Graham, Natalie, Liz, Nikki, the other Natalie, the other Sophie, Siobhan, Britta, Vikki, Sarah, Charlotte, Amy, Kev, and to anyone else I've forgotten - thank you for an amazing three years. And of course my wonderful, messy, infuriating, hilarious, frustrating, fantastic housemates have certainly played their role as well. It hasn't always been fun and there have been plenty of tantrums and 'flounce-outs' over the course of the year, but I couldn't have asked for four more incredible boys - sorry, men - to spend my last year of university with. Up the lads!
So after three years and over £20,000 worth of student loans, what can I tell you about English and American Literature!? In truth, it doesn't feel like much. I know that I will never truly understand Shakespeare. I know that I will always secretly be a little bit envious of Emily Dickinson's reclusive lifestyle. I know that anyone who says that they understand Ulysses is lying through their teeth - ditto to anyone who found Middlemarch 'interesting'. I know that James Ellroy is one messed up SOB, but he is also one hell of a writer. I know that I absolutely and unequivocally want to write. I want to touch people's lives in the way these writers have touched mine. I may have hated some of the works that I've read over the course of my degree (Light In August springs to mind), but I have also fallen head-over-heels in love with others. I've laughed and cried and been crushed and inspired by the words of people from all over the world, from 400 years ago to present day. One day I would like to be able to look back on the things that I've achieved in my life and know that my words have affected people in the same way that those writers words have affected me.
What far surpasses my limited knowledge of literature, on the other hand, are the things that I've learned about myself. I don't think anyone can go to university and not learn a few things about the person that they are - and the person that they want to become. This isn't only restricted to Weight Watchers, but also applies to the relationships I form with those around me, my work ethic, my ambition and drive, and so many other things that I can't even put into words. I will be graduating on the 10th of July 2012 as a completely different person to the one who arrived on the 19th of September 2009. Not only will I be 7st lighter and 6 dress sizes smaller, I will also be healthier, happier, more comfortable and confident in my own skin, and will be graduating surrounded by friends that I want to keep with me forever.
£20,000 well spent, I'd say.
£20,000 well spent, I'd say.
First Freshers Week at University of Kent, September 2009
University of Kent Summer Ball 2012, 2/6/2012.