Finally, graduation is here!
Today, I graduated with my BA (Hons) Illustration peers, as Falmouth University's Class of 2018!
The weeks between finishing university, the Grad Show (blog post here), receiving my final grade, moving back to Wales; and graduation seemed endless, and the wait only made my nerves for the day more intense.
The School of Art ceremony began at 10am - I was mortified to learn that this meant I would have to be on campus at 8am. The last time I was on Penryn Campus at 8am was when I lived just down the hill, in Glasney, and I was asleep in my bed.
After registering, it was time to get my cap and gown fitted - this experience, I can only compare to changing bedding. All of a sudden I was swimming in a giant black sheet, with no recollection of how I had got in. Also, caps were obviously not designed for people with thick, and curly hair. Several safety pins, and numerous hair pins later, I was ready!
For now, there was some time to relax, and find my course mates for photos, and congratulations.
Eventually, it was time for graduands to make their way to the ceremony hall. In typical Illustration style, we moved in tight packs - safety in numbers. Not that most of us have ever seen the inside of the Sport Hall, but it was unrecognisable as such - Falmouth's colours and crest were draped over every wall, sunflowers were arranged neatly on the stage, and dramatic white and blue uplighting created a cool glow around the room.
Sat nervously, we listened as a soundscape of Falmouth was played, while the lights rocked mimicking the ocean. 10am was here, and the ceremony was starting! The Cornish Proclamation was read, both in English, and Cornish, our Vice Chancellor gave her speech
"As you cross the stage today, you join the ranks of Falmouth graduated before you; artists film makers, designers. People with creativity, courage and ambition that are shaping the world around us. Just as your experiences and achievements are part of the fabric and history of Falmouth, I hope that you will take sone part of Falmouth with you, wherever you go."
Courses started lifting from their seats, and lining up ready to walk across the stage, and I was proud of people I had never met! Contemporary Crafts, Drawing, Fine Art, finally! Illustration! My name was called, and I walked over to meet my Chancellor: Dawn French! She shook my hand, and congratulated me, as well as commenting "oh what beautiful hair!" - I think thats more of a win than the degree, right?
Following the presentation and conferment of awards, an address of thanks was given, swiftly followed by the Chancellor's address. One moment in particular, was particularly poignant:
Post ceremony, you could feel the tension had been lifted from campus. Class, and group photos were taken, ice cream was eaten, and many many spins were taken on the carousel. The carousel might have been my favourite part of the day!
After all the photos, congratulations, and goodbyes, the day was over and it was time to leave campus. While the last 3 years have been difficult for many reasons, I have enjoyed my time in Falmouth, and the chance to develop myself has been invaluable. My work has progressed further than I could have imagined, and my confidence is right alongside it - illustrations of mine from 3 years ago are unrecognisable as my own by comparison to today.
University was hard. It was difficult, and draining, emotionally exhausting, frustrating, homesickness inducing, and expensive. But it was worth it... even if only for the chocolate coin!