There is nothing more rewarding than getting to your end destination; especially when the journey has been more than a rocky one.
Five years ago (yes it’s taken me half a bloody decade!) I decided that I was going to study journalism and that I was going to someday get my first class honours, move to good ole London Town and someday present the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show. If only things were so easy.
The past five years have been the hardest years of my entire life. It’s not even an exaggeration. This is coming from a girl that’s already seen a parent die to suicide as an eleven year old. But hey, I do not like pity. This is not a pity me post, but yeah they have been so bloody hard.
The past few years have seen my mother suffer under the hands of a stroke, her everyday capabilities have deteriorated alongside her 17 year marriage. I mourned the man that had only ever treated me like his daughter. His lack of death is what made it that little bit harder though. Knowing he still roams this earth, knowing he still shops in the same supermarket that he once bought me a packet of haribos in for doing well in school, knowing he still probably wears that ridiculous farmers cap to work everyday; that’s what really hurt me. Knowing that someone I idolised as a parent, as a man that I once put higher on a pedestal than my own biological father, knowing he just simply wanted nothing to do with me was the hardest part of all this. He always had faith in me and I am very much the person I am today because of him. I lost a parent, that was the hardest bit.
I saw my mum go from someone that loved to work to someone that couldn’t even bathe herself; all while I was supposed to be living the student dream with my twenty jagerbombs at the bar in lloyds and studying to become a teller of stories. I couldn’t mentally keep up however.
I’ve always been the independent girl, always career driven and I’d always been the girl that would chat to everyone and anyone, but I soon found myself unable to go out on my own. I found myself unable to answer the bloody phone to people and I found my determination and motivation at an all time low. I’m still not even a fraction of the confident person I used to be but I am getting there slowly.
In the mist of my mothers illness and the mourning of a man I would still consider my father, we lost our home. We were without the brick walls we’d only ever called home. Our once close knit family setup was non existent and instead I found myself losing someone that I’d only ever wanted to look out for. She broke the hearts of our family for a long time but I never ever ever stopped caring for her. Alongside this my degree definitely suffered; my mental health even more so.
Telling someone you’re depressed is harder than what you think. For me; I guess I didn’t want to paint myself with the same brush as my alcoholic father. I’ve always been scared that I would turn out like him; mental health issues are hereditary ya know.
My main issue I guess was how can you tell a bunch of professional journalists that lecture you that you can’t put your assignment in because you can’t mentally leave your dorm room? How can you become a decent journalist when you can’t even go to the fourth floor launderette on your own?
I felt incredibly stupid for a while. Like everyone thought I was this massive joke and that everyone thought I had bitten off more than I could chew. More so; I had never felt farther from myself or my dream journalistic career. I was a big fat failure and I’d never felt lower than I did then.
For most, university was a time to get really drunk, do some questionable things, stroll into uni hungover and get a degree at the end of it. For me, it’s been the biggest rollercoaster ride you could ever imagine.
My life couldn’t have changed more in the last few years if I wanted it to. It couldn’t have got any worse but if anything I wouldn’t want to change any of it. I don’t know how I managed to get myself out of that rut. I don’t know how I got myself out from the gutter. The last 5 years of university have all rolled into one but what I do know is that I owe everything I am to the people that never gave up on me; especially when I’d given up on myself. I’ve met some of the most amazing friends alongside this crazy journey with me, I’ve been lucky to have the guidance from a lovely bunch of lecturers and my family have continued to be my supporting pillars that have kept me upright. I owe this to every single one of them.
I’ve heard so many people bang on about how your university years are the best years of your life; mine have been the worst. I’ve been challenged in every way imaginable but at least I can sit here and say I fought for what I’ve achieved. I would not change anything for the world now.
University for me has been the biggest journey of self discovery. I’ve realised I am strong, I am capable and more so; the world is my oyster.
I’m not graduating with my perfect degree, I am not graduating with the writing of the ‘perfect university chapter’ behind me,I did not have a perfect time, but life isn’t perfect, people aren’t perfect and things don’t always end up perfectly. What I am graduating with however is a lot more self worth, a lot more pride and a lot more strength. That’s worth a lot more than two numbers, a classification and me wearing a stupid hat in a couple of weeks. I am graduating with life experience that’s tested me but experience that also proves how bloody strong I am.
I know this sounds incredibly cliche, like I’ve just been awarded an OBE from Queen Liz herself, (at the end of the day it’s a piece of A4 paper) but it’s a piece of tree that makes the last 5 years of my life worth it. For the pride I have in myself is worth the entire world.
With that said, I’ve achieved more than just a degree. I’ve achieved the feeling of self belief and that’s something I’d never ever felt before
I guess at the end of the day, what I’m trying to say is that life will throw lemons at you, your plans will get lost and forgotten about and sometimes you’ll feel like everthing is impossible. I never in a million years thought I’d actually graduate, but with enough support from the people around you, enough get up and go, life does get that little bit better and achievements will come. A wise lady once told me that you need to believe to achieve. It’s harder to believe when everything is falling apart around you but you will get there in the end. Most of all life doesn’t ever go to plan. Self belief is the way out of the dark times.
I’m not graduating with the degree I planned to but I am graduating with more self worth, more confidence and more inner strength than I ever thought I’d possess and for little ole Sammy, that’s worth more than any degree classification.
So yeah, to all those people that have ever made me feel like I was worthless, stupid, crazy and just a damn right loose cannon, I am graduating. Yup. It’s official now. I will wear that stupid mortar and I will wear it with pride, with strength and with a lot less money in my pocket (do you know how expensive it is to hire graduation dress? Crazy mun!) but yeah, I’ve proven you all wrong but most of all, I’ve proved to the girl that once thought she’d never ever get there that she can do anything she puts her mind to and that her strong spirit will always get her through.
So goodbye university, you have been the hardest, most testing, mentally draining most rewarding chapter of my life yet.
You have not heard the last of me, gimme another 15 years and I may actually have made it into the BBC by then…spirit.