Thousands of students look forward to graduation day with unparalleled excitement every year, but to be completely honest with you, I dreaded it. Making sure I had the perfect outfit and getting mixed up in crowded spaces with varying heightened emotions – it seemed like a big fuss I just didn’t want to have to do. But I knew I didn’t want to miss it, and honestly, it turned out to be one of the best days of my life.
I had the sudden realisation on the drive to Leicester that wearing the robes might make me feel like I was in Harry Potter, and suddenly, spending money on a few bits of fabric I’d only wear for a few hours seemed okay. Despite all the anxiety beforehand and expectation of feeling stressed, the environment remained true to Leicester’s typically friendly atmosphere and I felt incredibly welcomed and honoured to be a part of such a lovely community.
The day really got better and better as it went on, peaking at the ceremony in De Montford Hall, where it felt wonderful to feel so connected to one of the oldest institutions in the world. Seeing all my lecturers up on stage in their varying, eclectic robes from their own graduations from different institutions across the world brought to my realisation how amazing it is to be a part of a learning community gathered from so many different influences and backgrounds. And it turns out, there are really few things better than being in a room full of bashfully proud students, unashamedly delighted lecturers, and families thrilled for their loved ones.