Graduation: an open letter to my family/friends #classof2016

Yesterday, I officially graduated from Coventry University with a First Class Honours in Journalism and Media with International Enhancement. It was a surreal experience.

Leading up to the day, I had no time at all to be excited. I’m 7 weeks into my Masters and it’s difficult when you’re actually on top of your work let alone when you miss lectures. I prepared to get all my readings done in advance and it was near enough impossible. I ran around 2 days before ordering shoes and finding an outfit, I wanted to cry. I got my nails done last-minute and I literally only felt excited 12 hours before the ceremony.

The whole day felt like a blur. After waiting so long, it felt like it was done within an hour.

Collect gown. Go to Cathedral. Sit. Walk to Dean. Shake hand. Listen to speeches. Leave Cathedral. Take photos. Take loads of photos. Take selfies. Take loads of selfies.

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Anyway, in reflection of such an important day, I realised it wasn’t about me at all. My family and friends saw this through with me and this is an appreciation post to each and every one of you who was part of my university experience. Nothing I say will ever be enough and words can’t explain how grateful I am but since I’m making a career out of writing, let’s hope this will suffice.

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To my family, thank you so much. I will always remember the look on Papa’s face when we drove to Far Gosford on the first drive up to Cov. The Sat Nav lady said we’d reached our destination but it looked like a rundown version of Derby Road with way more takeaways. Despite being worried about your little sister moving so far from home – as a family – you kept calm, helped me settle in, and were there for me every step of the way.

For four years, you’ve driven me back and forth (including the airport), cooked my favourite meals whenever I’m home, sent me back with a bag full of food, helped me financially, provided endless life advice, supported my every decision including moving to Spain, kept me calm when I wanted to panic, and listened to me when I needed to share my thoughts. I haven’t said thank you enough, but I’m so grateful for everything. Even the small things like buying halal Haribos for my train journeys.

When I stood on the steps in my Harry-Potter-looking gown yesterday, it was the smiles on your faces that made me the happiest. Mum and Dad, it wasn’t the easiest for you. Your prayers mean the world to me. As the youngest, I’ve pushed you to allow me to do things that no one else asked to do. This is all for you. I know in our community, you’ve had to justify why I’m living away, why I lived abroad, and even my choice of degree. But I’ve done it, First Class Honours. I hope it speaks for itself.

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To my friends, all of you – those who have come and gone and those who stuck around. You all added to my amazing university experience in different ways. I learnt so much from every single friendship. I met some incredible people through my course.

Simona, you have been my inspiration throughout uni. Your work ethic, positivity, patience, and determination rubbed off on me. You encouraged me to work hard, and I saw the results. I wouldn’t have gone to Madrid if you hadn’t persuaded me. It was the best year of my life. I feel like I’ve known you my whole life and it’s lovely that we share the same passion and interests. We worked so hard but also had such a fun time. I miss you so much but I know we’ll end up in the same city someday soon.

Harpreet, I’m so lucky to have met you in third year. You’re honestly one of the most loveliest people I’ve ever met. You never said no to driving me around at 7am to film for my final project, running around filming and editing, or going out for one of our little Phoenix lunches. Whether it was work or not, I knew you’d be down for it. You kept me together all throughout my last year and now my Masters. You always have the right words to say that keeps me feeling positive and no matter what it is, I know I can tell you. I know I’ve met a friend for life in you.

Everyone else knows who they are. If I’ve ever messaged you to complain about my workload and you’ve replied with some positivity/encouragement then thank you. When I have deadlines, I can shut off but there’s a few of you who will always try to get through to me, and remind me to take time out for myself. I don’t share my stress with a lot of people but if I’ve told you how I’m struggling sometimes, again thank you. We all need friends who are understanding, caring, and know how you feel without you having to say.

Last but not least: Journo Baes, I’m so glad we had each other to fall back on during deadlines alongside all the bants to lighten the mood when I was stressed, and the random events we attended for filming purposes. From what I’ve heard, I know I’m lucky to have been part of a small class, because I made real friends rather than those you study with just over exam period.

I wish you all the best for the future, we made it! Take opportunities you might not have the right experience for, we all know it can work out! I see so many of you making it and landing your dream job. And Tom, I’m so proud of you for being the first to get a job! Soon, I’ll see your name in bylines more often than not.

Onwards and upwards, just need to get through Masters next.


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