Graduate Reflections

Jessie takes a look back at the highs and lows of her university experience

University has been deemed a core step in bridging adulthood and by no means is this an exaggeration. The simplest way to describe it? The most extreme way to experience a broad spectrum of different things which inevitably prepare you to cope with whatever comes your way. Let’s face it, if you’re capable of fishing your housemate’s cold baked beans out of the kitchen sink you can handle pretty much anything adult life throws at you.

It’s a bit of a frightening prospect that my four years studying English with Hispanic Studies at Nottingham have come to an abrupt halt with graduation behind me and real life pending. I can still remember so clearly arriving at halls on my first day, obviously late for the welcome talk and getting locked out of my building immediately.

My first course lecture was 45 minutes of straight Spanish detailing how the years would pan out; so intimidating that my first friend there immediately changed course (we rekindled our friendship in final year, all good). All really positive omens for the next stage of my life, right? Daunting as all of this was, myself and everyone around me rose to the occasion, with lectures and seminars becoming as regular and systematic as Crisis Wednesdays.

“Don’t underestimate the power of subtle moments.”

My year abroad in South America was undoubtedly a huge part of my experience. However, it was not the be all and end all. One of my most treasured lessons I have absorbed over the years is that the small moments are just as memorable as the big ones.

As much as my highlights include travelling around Brazil and Argentina, flying a rickety old plane and then inevitably throwing myself out of one, parachute and all, Saturday mornings in pyjamas watching back-to-back episodes of bad Spanish soap operas with my Argentinian sister and mum, and Frozen-themed birthday parties for my four-year-old Brazilian little sister are memories I won’t ever lose. In the same way, Netflix binges on the sofa with all of your housemates under someone’s old blanket are just as precious as the weekly Crisis and Ocean ventures. Don’t underestimate the power of subtle moments. Or house trips to Lidl.

“Adulthood I’m (nowhere near) ready for you but I couldn’t have asked for more from my university experience.”

I’m not going to lie, before beginning my search for universities, Nottingham itself had never been on my radar. It sounded distractingly northern to me, a classic Londoner, and I pictured myself returning home every weekend. Moving there I was proven wrong (and my bank account breathed a sigh of relief) as Nottingham is, in my eyes, the perfect student city. The fierce but good-natured rivalry with Nottingham Trent ensured that within hours of the first night of Freshers every single one of us was chanting, channelling Game of Thrones in a determined defence of our new hometown. With everything within walking distance I soon grew very much attached to Nottingham city (and Jo’s Pancakes. If you know you know.)

In a very cliché way, the lessons I have learnt at uni have prepared me for this moment. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with my life. And that’s absolutely fine. I’ll figure it out as I go and I am actually looking forward to more challenges. I’m spending the summer in Ghana volunteering (the year abroad travel bug got me good) and then I am due to start a Masters in Journalism come September, alongside a job as Activities Coordinator for a youth programme. Adulthood I’m (nowhere near) ready for you but I couldn’t have asked for more from my university experience.

Jessie Galman

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Featured image courtesy of Mark Ramsay via Flickr. Image license can be found here


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