I can't quite believe that its taken me this long to post an update about what was arguably the most important day of my life to date! After what can only be described as a tumultuous three years at the University of Kent, I graduated on Tuesday with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature with Upper Second Class Honours. I am officially Lauren Elizabeth Jones BA.
[Dress - Next
Shoes - New Look
Bracelet - Links of London]
It was a fantastic day that I was lucky enough to share with some of the most important people in my life. I managed to get two extra tickets for the ceremony, meaning that my Nan and Auntie were also able to come as well as my mum and dad.
Proud Mummy and Daddy Jones before the ceremony
We went for a gorgeous lunch in Canterbury before the ceremony at a restaurant called Cafe Du Soleil, and then made our way to the venue - Canterbury's gorgeous cathedral. Its the oldest cathedral in the country and is literally one of the most stunning buildings I've ever been in, rivalled only by the chapel at the Tower of London. Say what you like about religion - those people knew how to build!
(I didn't get any photos of the front of the cathedral, so credit for this goes to my lovely friend Siobhan)
My ceremony was the last one of the day and took place at 7.15pm. The notoriously unpredictable English weather did, for the most part, hold out for us throughout the day, and there were only a couple of minor rain showers in the afternoon. After two months of grey skies and rain almost every day it was a relief to finally have some nice weather!
The ceremony itself was absolutely stunning as well - I loved the pomp and ceremony of it all! The music, the different gowns denoting which stage of academia you have reached, the wonderful surroundings. More than anything I loved the atmosphere! Even though at times it was slightly stressful, there was a real air of pride and happiness. Everywhere you looked there were proud parents and families, Graduands beaming under their silly hats and swishing their gowns, and just generally celebrating a fantastic achievement. The majority of people graduating - myself included - have spent their entire lives up to this point in education, and finishing our degree signifies the end of all that for most people. Some people are staying on to do Master's Degrees (JEALOUS), but most of us are entering the working world and I think that Graduation was the day that we all became truly appreciative of the fact that this is it now. This is real life, the real world. No more Student Loan payouts and a vast reduction in the number of mid-week hangovers that we'll be able to get away with. For me personally it means redefining the life I've built for myself over the last three years. People were always shocked when I said that Weight Watchers was as important - if not more so - to me than my degree, but that they don't understand is to me the two go hand in hand. Had I not joined Weight Watchers when I did I never would have got to the end of my degree and been able to celebrate the day with my wonderful friends and family. Likewise if I hadn't gone to university, I probably never would have found the motivation to do something about my weight. Now university is done, and I have to find a way to amalgamate Weight Watchers with living back at home with my family. I haven't quite got there just yet, but I will. Its a work in progress, but eventually I'll nail it.
All in all it was a beautiful - albeit slightly exhausting - day. The majority of my closest friends all graduated on Tuesday as well, so even though some of them weren't in the same ceremony as me I still got to see them. I don't think I realised how much I missed them until I saw them again - especially my boys. Special thanks goes to them for quite simply being the most incredible housemates and friends that anybody could ever ask for. Despite my initial hesitation and the fact that stuff got slightly complicated towards the end (which, in fairness, was my fault) I had a fantastic year living with them, and its safe to say that hangovers will never be the same again without our morning-after debriefings and Team Breakfasts at Beano's cafe.
60% of the fittest house Canterbury ever saw
Me, Nikki and Emma before the ceremony.
My #1 girl
Me and the lovely Miss Britta Sanderson
Lit girlies - me, Liz, Nikki, Emma and Sellisha
Katie and I on our post-Graduation night out
Finishing my time as a student the same way I started it - pint of Snakebite in hand. The only difference being I'm almost 7st lighter than I was when I arrived in September 2009.
[Top and bag - Dorothy Perkins
Shorts - Tall @ Topshop
Wedges - ye old and faithful New Look]
Not going to lie - I'm feeling a bit emotional after writing that and looking at those pictures. I had an absolutely fantastic day that was the icing on top of an incredible three years at university. To my family I owe many thanks for all their support and encouragement, as well as the occasional lending of money and sending of food items. To all the fantastic friends with whom I share so many superb memories and with whom I hope to create many more - thank you for making my time at university as wonderful as it was. Most importantly, to the University of Kent - thanks for having me.
UKC 'til I die.
UKC 'til I die.