Recently Brighton has been overrun with graduation ceremonies. The cap and gown has been the most fashionable and revered of all summer accessories. Parents have been flocking into town, bursting with pride as they watch their child relish their moment in the spotlight and receive their certificate.
For anyone who decides that University or College is for them, this is a momentous moment in life. It marks the end of a chapter; your time in education has finished and you now stand at the beginning of a whole new phase. The big wide world is out there waiting for you.
I remember my graduation day well, and although it pains me to say it, pride was not an emotion I felt. I know my parents were there, and I know they were proud enough for the three of us, but deep down I knew that I’d let myself down. I hadn’t applied myself – at least not to my studies.
Yes I graduated with Honours in Civil Engineering with Construction Management but my grading was far below what I had come to expect of myself.
Did my degree certificate reflect me? The hard truth is yes, it reflected me at that point in my life. It reflected a person who was far too busy enjoying himself and making new friends. Study was something I always left for the eleventh hour – and even then there was still time for one last drink.
Am I proud? No.
Did I do myself and the University justice? Far from it.
Did I feel like I was ready for the real world? Not a chance.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is so much about my University days that I treasure. I have some great friends, hopefully that will be friends for life, and I got to live in a new place, which was a great experience. In fact Leeds became the place I called home nearly 16 years. I even went on to establish a fairly good career as a Civil Engineer until I decided my life needed to head in a different direction.
Now to my point… although my graduation wasn’t my proudest moment, it was still an important moment. That day I promised myself I would never feel this way again. In all honesty, I had only myself to blame. I had been given every opportunity to do well, and lots of advice, I just decided ignore it. It was a defining moment in my life but in hindsight I realise I dwelled on it for too long. Yes it was important but it was still only a moment.
I graduated in May 2000 and 14 years later my life now bears no resemblance to what I had envisaged or what I thought was even possible back then. The moment my adult life really started was the day I stopped feeling lost, stopped listening to others and started listening to myself.
Wherever you find yourself today, remember your past is your past and your future is yet to be determined.
Take a deep breath, give yourself a moment to ponder, ask for advice and then make YOUR decision. It is your life. What will you make of it?