The End

So, this is it, the final post.

If this is your first time visiting the blog then I hope it serves as a helpful snapshot of one undergraduate’s experience of UEA, and if you have been here before then this post is a thank you for coming on this 3 year journey with me.

This blog has been many things; an outlet for my feelings on current events, a rather public diary of my time at university, and also a surprising way to find new people and opportunities. I’ve had the chance to speak to prospective undergraduates and current ones, answering their questions and hopefully allaying some of their fears. Although I (probably) won’t be adding to this blog it will remain up as a resource (and as a way for me to be occasionally nostalgic).

What’s the plan now?

Well, as of about 2 weeks ago I became a registered student at the University of Oxford and in October I will begin my MA in Medieval Literature, an undertaking I’m not sure I would have thought myself capable of this time last year.

Oxford will be a very different environment I’m sure, but I think having gone to UEA will keep it all (and by this I mean some of the slightly excessive traditions) in perspective. One of the things that I have always loved about UEA was that it didn’t stand on ceremony or labour over tradition, but rather aspires to always progress – the attitude it espouses in its motto, ‘Do Different’.

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After Oxford? Who knows. Maybe a PhD, maybe I’ll be doing something in the Heritage/Arts sector. But I’m not quite done with Norwich yet and I plan to visit when I can (luckily a fair few of my friends have stayed in the area).

When I think of UEA I think of its flying walkways, designed by Denys Lasdun so that students’ heads were almost literally up in the clouds and away from mundane realities of things such as cars. I think of the lake with its morning mists, dog walkers, and summer BBQs; the Sainsbury centre; morning coffees in Unio in the depths of winter; watching the changing colours of the trees whilst writing essays in the library. But most of all I will remember the kind and warm hearted people I met, who supported me, pushed me, and afforded me opportunities I couldn’t have imagined before I arrived.

I wouldn’t claim that my university experience was perfect but I’m so grateful to have had it and, in a small way, to have shared it here.

(If you’d like to contact me about UEA or more generally my experience as a student then you can still find me on twitter – the link is at the top of the page)

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Graduation

It’s been over a week since I graduated but until now I’ve still been somewhat reeling.

When dealing with a tough essay or an overwhelming reading list I used to imagine my graduation day and how amazing it would feel; I even used to picture standing with my friends in our robes, and it would give me an extra burst of motivation.

Then suddenly it was my graduation day and it all seemed to go by in a blur. To clarify, I had a great day but it was so surreal and overwhelming that I mostly remember it in snapshots: my friend and I first seeing ourselves in our robes; shaking the vice-chancellor’s hand; throwing our mortarboards.

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It’s a fun day but you do seem to spend your time running from one thing to another, anxious that you might miss something important with your friends whilst also balancing seeing your family.

The ceremony itself felt the most official and ‘proper’ bit of the day – standing around a campus you know very well in robes seems odd but the actual conferring of the degrees was the moment when I really felt, ‘ahh I’m graduating!’.

I’m pleased to say no one tripped over on the stairs, which was something we had all been very anxious about, although my new shoes did rip off a bit of skin the size of a 10p piece whilst I was walking across the stage – what glamour! (I don’t think anyone noticed as the adrenaline carried me through, but I might have a slight scar to always remind me of my UEA graduation).

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Fun fact: our robes were designed by the artist and costume designer Cecil Beaton

The people receiving honorary degrees during our ceremony were Peter Wilson and the poet and translator George Szirtes. Both gave interesting speeches which addressed the unique challenges our generation will be facing; what I remember most from Peter Wilson’s speech was the time he had to jump from a burning boat into shark infested waters, but Szirtes discussed issues such as our country’s response to the refugee crisis. The poet was himself a refugee at the age of 8, fleeing to Britain from Hungary. To a round of applause he reminded the audience of the gifts that refugees bring. Whilst refugees should never have to prove themselves worthy of saving, it was still a salient reminder that these people are our future artists and engineers. They bring immeasurable value to our country and culture.

I have a few posts about Grad Week and my MA plans still to publish but for now I’m off to North Wales for a week where I can indulge in reading books I’ve been putting off during term time!

Degree = Done!

Hello!

I’ve been gone for a while because there’s been some pretty important stuff happening lately. Most importantly, I HAVE FINISHED MY DEGREE!

Yesterday I handed in my final essay and just like that my time as a UEA student is done. The night before I was in bed and I suddenly had a flashback to my first night at uni – lying in bed thinking about how this new important step of my life was just beginning. I can’t really quite believe that it’s over already!

To celebrate, my friends and I congregated in the square outside the SU and sunbathed, drank pimms, and generally enjoyed not having any deadlines to worry about.

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Because I’ve been working pretty hard over the past few weeks I’ve had to miss out on things like this year’s ‘Pimp My Barrow’ (see here for more info if you hadn’t heard of PMB before) but I was still able to swing by and see it for 10 minutes or so on my way to the library.

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This was from ‘early’ in the day!

The next few weeks are going to be a race to do everything in Norwich that I’ve wanted to see/try but never gotten around to, such as the Plantation Gardens. It also alarms me how many of my Norwich Bucket List items involve trying different food establishments.

My tenancy ends in mid-June so I’ll be moving back home before graduation and then coming back for Grad Week; hopefully staying on the floor of a friend’s place as quite a few of them are staying in Norwich.

I’m a strange mixture of devastated to be leaving Norwich but also ready to go – and I’m still trying to understand how I can be both simultaneously. But this fine city has been very good to me so I am glad that with my friends staying here I will have good cause to return.