After being in and out of university for the past ten years I am now no longer a student and will probably never be again, unless you hear me trying to get a student discount in Topshop.
I think this means that I’m officially a grown-up, so now I have to start to decipher what that involes. I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with managing my well-being and inner peace, but I’m sure any bank refusing to give me a mortgage would disagree.
Peter Kay, the comedian, was getting an honorary doctorate at my graduation ceremony, which was great because he constantly made funny faces behind all the teaching staff adorned in their fancy robes. He had been instructed to give us an inspirational speech after he received his award, and talked a lot about the importance of family and making time for the ones you love. Of course I agreed with his advice, but it’s not the main lesson I felt I learned from graduating with a Masters.
I think being a grown up is all about managing your own happiness. It’s when the day comes that no-one else is going to control your emotions for you, you have to do it for yourself.
When you were younger your parents would do everything they could to make you happy, like trying to stop you crying by feeding you sweets, or in my case spoonfuls of butter (I loved butter).
When you’re in school and university you have support systems there to make sure you are feeling okay. Teachers will ask why you didn’t do well on a test, lecturers will refer you to the councillor if you cry in their office (essays plus anxiety equals many tears).
But then all of a sudden you’re standing on the side of a stage in a gown waiting for the Dean to call your name, but proceedings are being delayed by students trying to get selfies with Peter Kay, and none of that support system is with you. You have to walk onto the stage alone, take your scroll, try to pass Peter Kay your business card and walk off again without falling in your Primark heels.
Only I am in control of my happiness now. I have no education system to help me achieve my best or learn from my mistakes, it’s all on me. And although that sounds scary, it’s also exciting because I feel ready. I am ready to wake up in the morning and make myself think “I’m really happy today.” And try my hardest to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way, because no-one is going to teach me how anymore.
I’ve done my learning, now it’s time to live those lessons.
But if Peter Kay asks, I completely agree with what he said in his speech and would never disagree with him and maybe if he’d like me to write something for him some time that would be great.