Friday, 24 July 2009
About time I wrote an update. Exactly one week ago today, I graduated from university.
To be honest, I was completely underwhelmed by the experience, and wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. Most of the way through university, I pretty much knew what grade I would end up with: it seemed that if I tried really hard on a piece of work, I'd get a 2.1 grade, and if I didn't try too much, I'd also get a 2.1 grade. On occasion I produced work that was of a First grade, but because of averages, for every unit I did, I got a solid 2.1. So I wasn't surprised with my final grade. Part of me is a little disappointed, though. Perhaps I could have tried really hard...
Typically for Norwich weather, it was a grey day. Luckily, though, the rain held off until the journey home. I felt pretty ridiculous in my gown. And the gown was a horrible colour: navy blue and orangey-pink. Very disappointed that it wasn't black.
The hall was also underwhelming. It was the exam hall, so full of pleasant memories, and it was underground. It used to be an old gym. There was a big blue curtain to act as a backdrop. Nothing like the grand old halls or cathedrals that many other universities use to hold their graduation ceremonies. A shame.
I hated going up on stage to get my degree. All I was focusing on was not tripping over.
My partner thinks that I don't value my achievement as much as I should. I think that's true. It just seems to me that so many people have degrees these days, and they don't play as big a role in getting a job as I had previously expected. I didn't particularly enjoy my time at university. I wish I could do it over, better. I'm mostly relieved that it is all over now.
The aspect I most miss is my creative writing seminars. The group I was in for my final-year was brilliant: a good bunch of people, and a great tutor. I really enjoyed the work-shopping structure.
Previously, I thought that the course hadn't really done much to improve my writing. We weren't 'taught' as such, more 'guided', or self-taught through discussion with each other. However, I recently looked back at some of my first-year work. Compared with the last piece of creative writing I submitted (my dissertation), it was shockingly bad! So, on reflection, I have improved. However, I don't believe it was all down to the course content/structure, but also due to the simple fact that I was constantly practicing my writing skills. Writing is like a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the stronger you work will become.
As for the literature side of the course... I felt slightly mislead. Before I started university, I was lead to believe that there was a lot of choice about what you got to study, and what you got to write about. I had in my head all these exciting ideas about writing essays on 'Gormenghast' or Angela Carter. None of that ever came about because, really, my unit choices were very restricted. Out of all the units I had to do, I think I only really wanted to do about a quarter of them. And the reading load was completely unrealistic, at least for me. I'm a slow reader, and there was no way I was ever going to get through four books a week, excluding secondary reading.
Going to university definitely had value. I enjoyed part of it. I guess it just wasn't what I had expected. Something must have gone right though, because I'm still itching to do a Masters degree...!