If you’ve been following me for a while, or if you’ve been reading my ‘Dissertation Diaries‘ series, you’ll know I have spent the past three years studying. Back in August 2016, I made the uncommon choice to stay at home and confirmed my place at the University of York to study a BA in Criminology. It’s now three years later, and on Thursday 18th July I graduated! Like they always say you only graduate once (well, unless you do even more studies), so I really wanted to document my graduation day and share it with you.
The few days before my graduation was spent having a little much needed pamper. I had my hair cut and dyed on the Monday and then on the wednesday, I got my nails and eyebrows done by my cousin’s lovely girlfriend Beth. She’s got her own business from home, and she’s amazing at what she does. I opted for a red nail to match my outfit on the day of graduation, and my eyebrows were waxed and tweezed and looked so much neater and a much better shape afterward. If you want to check out Beth’s beauty business check out her Instagram here, and/or Facebook here. Along with these little preparations I popped on a face-mask and some gradual tan lotion the night before hoping for a little glow knowing all the girls had been on holidays and would have lovely tans.
The Morning of my Graduation Day
My graduation wasn’t until 4:30pm so it gave me the whole morning to get ready before heading over to uni for the early afternoon. I did my own makeup, going to a slight smokey eye and a red lip with a glowy bronzed complexion. Then our lovely family-friend and hairdresser offered to do my hair for me which is so kind, so she arrived at 11am to curl my hair.
My dress was a fitted red lace number which came to just above my knee. It was from ASOS and a brand called Paperdolls. I’ll leave it linked here. I then wore the only pair of heels I own, which are a pair of black suede block heels. Being 6ft I very rarely wear heels, and I like these ones as they are super comfy and give me just a little height whilst still making my outfit look dressy. My jewellery was a present from my mum for graduating and was a pair of earrings with a matching necklace. Then I wore my nomination bracelet and a beautiful heart bracelet my dad and his girlfriend also bought me for graduating.
Gowning, Departmental Drinks, and a Little Chaos
My dad, Adam, nan, and grandad all arrived at ours for 11.30an (they were supposed to arrive at 12:30pm so I wasn’t quite ready!), and we drove to my university campus for 1pm. Dad dropped us all off before going to park his car. Then this is where the day went a little wrong. The second I stepped out of the car the strap of my shoe completely broke *NIGHTMARE*. After a little bit of stressing and a trip to the on-campus shop for some superglue, Carina, mum and I managed to save my shoe.
We then headed to collect my gown and hat. The University of York has grey gowns, which I was a little unsure of at first when compared to the usual black gown, but realised I actually prefer the grey. the stripe on the gown is a little grey/white colour to represent Criminology being a Bachelor of Arts.
After having some professional family photos taken (the peak stress point of the day), we then headed for departmental drinks at Courtyard. It was so lovely to see all the girls looking beautiful in their outfits and gowns, and I felt so immensely proud of every single one of them. It was also great to catch up with lecturers and other departmental staff as congratulations and hugs were given all round. We took lots of final photos together and caught up over Pimms and prosecco.
Like previously mentioned our ceremony wat at 4:30pm, so we headed down to Central Hall to be seated just after 3:30pm. It was a great opportunity to catch up with others from my degree pathway before the ceremony officially started. The ceremony commenced with a speech from the Vice-Chancellor before commencing the many different awards and honors. Between courses graduating, there was various speeches and also singing from the university’s acapella group.
Eventually, it was my turn. Wow, I was ridiculously nervous and all I kept telling myself is that it’s 20 steps across the stage you seriously can’t mess that up, Natalie! My friends and family were so cute giving me a little cheer as my name was called. After a little moments talk and hand-shake with the Vice-Chancellor, I was done. I had officially graduated! I’ve attached a video of me collecting my certificate at the bottom of this post if you want to see.
A highlight of the ceremony was a talk from Dr Lynsey Addario, who was receiving her honorary degree. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist. Her work focuses on human rights issues and conflicts, with a more in-depth focus on the role of women in traditional societies. Her story was revolutionary, and I was truly captivated by what she does.
After the ceremony had finished, we headed to Greg’s Place by the lake to take some photos with my certificate. It was a little windy though! Then, of course, I had the obligatory cap throw photo taken too and yes I managed to catch it!
Post-graduation meal and drinks
After handing in my gown, we headed into town for dinner and drinks. I’d invited my godmother and cousin and partner along too so it was so lovely to see them. We went to Ask Italian, as it is located within the Grand Assembly Room and the interior is beautiful. It was so lovely having some of my most cherished people sat around the table, who’s gone out of their way to come to celebrate my graduation with me. It was special. After dinner, we were shattered so headed home for around 11pm.
I found my graduation day truly overwhelming and full of so much love and happiness. I just want to say a little thank you to everyone who came, and the presents and cards I received. I’m truly grateful. I completely underestimated how much I’d enjoy my graduation day, and it is one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Let’s commence the next chapter in my life…
Have you read my previous blog post? – Chasing the Fairies at Northwood Trail*