Walking the Stage: Thoughts before Graduation

When I enrolled for a Master’s degree at RGU, I knew that graduation was part of the package. Just over a year later, this week I will be graduating and though I saw it coming, I have never felt so overwhelmed before. What better way to calm the nerves than penning it down?

Graduating in another country

I decided to do a Master’s course and move to the UK just after I completed my undergraduate degree in India. Therefore, my first graduation is still a fresh memory. It was simple – I wore a Saree (a traditional Indian costume), my mother did my hair and my family including my gran got to see me walk the stage. I don’t remember being too nervous, it was perhaps just another day for me.

This time, it’s a little different. Graduation ceremonies in the UK are a big affair; there is so much to do! I started preparing a month ago – I registered for the ceremony, began searching for the perfect graduation dress and signed up for the gown hire. Unfortunately, this time, my family will not be able to make to the ceremony, but my closest friends from here are coming to show their support. On a positive note, though they are thousands of miles away, my parents will still be able to see me graduate through RGU’s YouTube live streaming of the ceremony.

To wear or not to wear: the outfit dilemma

The part that I am most nervous about is my outfit for graduation. My comfort couture has always been comfy pants, skirts, jumpers and tees; dresses are scarce in my wardrobe. Back in India, for important ceremonies, I would go for traditional wear, hence this was the first time I had to go proper dress shopping.

A month ago, my friend (who will also be graduating this week) and I made plans to visit one shop a week in the city centre to browse their dress collection. Even if we found something we liked, we wouldn’t buy them yet as we kept hoping we’ll find something EVEN better. While my friend found her dress, I was browsing… still.

I was awake in bed one night, I realised that as I walk the stage, I wanted to carry a piece of home. After a few minutes of social media scurrying, I found an Indian traditional wear designer in Aberdeen and I felt a surge of happiness and relief. I booked an appointment with the designer next day and picked out the most beautiful black and gold kurti with a matching dupatta and a pair of leggings. A kurti is very similar to a western dress, but it has pretty Indian patterns on it; a dupatta is piece of long cloth worn on top. Once I had the whole outfit on, I knew that this was it!

Metaphors and milestones

In moments that move me, I often think, “Last year, this time, did I think that I would be here?” The answer almost always is no. As human beings, we tend to underestimate ourselves. We do not realise that we are growing and making progress until one day we are put on a stage and awarded, appreciated and clapped for. Graduation is one such milestone. As students, we do not give ourselves enough credit for the hardships we go through until we walk that stage and graduate. Perhaps that is why it is one of the most important days of our lives.

As much as graduation denotes leveling up in life, it also entails saying goodbye to university and student life. Goodbyes can be hard but all good things must come to end for new things to begin. So it is important to enjoy your graduation day to its fullest.

Moving to another country was difficult, I had so many doubts and insecurities about taking that decision. But I am glad that the summation of my choices led to this point. If not for these choices, I would not have met friends who are family and I would not have found a home in Aberdeen and at RGU.

On Graduation Day, life comes in full circle for me. I am more than excited to be walking that stage.

Swetha.

Related Blogs: A leap of faith: Doing a Master’s degree at RGU