An ode to my degree

So this is it, one exam coming between me and the end of three years worth of work. Why isn’t it a 9 am exam, at least then it would be over quicker? But no, it’s at 2 pm which is normally an alright time for an exam, but today it might as well be at midnight. By the time it comes around, I have gone through the past papers countless times, gone over lecture notes, messaged friends on Messenger to figure out whether or not we have covered everything we need for this paper. 

And then 90mins later, we are done, we hand up the papers, leave the exam hall, and try and get our bags and coats from the mountain that has grown with every other student’s belongings. Once I was out in the fresh air, it felt anti-climatic, I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, hardly confetti and cheers but a sense of completion, a sense of celebration. Maybe that will come on the graduation when I go collect the precious piece of paper that I have worked 3 years to earn, with my parents watching me; there only daughter getting a Bachelor Degree in Digital Humanities and Information Technology. Maybe that’s when the victory kicks in. For now, there is a sense of something ending which without fail comes with the feeling of burnout and fatigue. Though I didn’t get ill this exam season *touches wood*, it is inevitable that once my body realises, that the stress is over it will without fail,  make me feel the effects of the strain it has been put under over the past few months. And I won’t blame it after all we have both been through a lot.

I think back to the beginning of this whole adventure when I first set foot on the grounds of UCC as a first year. The nerves were intense, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for nor what to expect from a degree of this size and frankly, it excited me. This 23-year-old who had only set foot in UCC a handful of times, one of which I had to call my mother to come collect me because I got lost on the campus and ended up on, where I now know is the Western Road, side of the campus. Mind you I was only 14 at the time and it was for a History revision day for the Junior Cert. Despite living a mere 15mins away from the campus, the college always seemed a world away from me,  a far off place where only a select few of people get to go but now I know, this isn’t the case. Yes, you have to pass exams and go through an application process in order to get there, but if you work hard, you can go to UCC or any university you want. And it took me a while to get my head around it and stop thinking that I didn’t deserve to be there during my first year, that I was an imposter. Thankfully, I put those fears behind me and went ahead of my work and studies, then the years flew by and now I am here, writing this.