[Shelby Loasby | Head of Print and Robert Wheatley | Lifestyle Editor]
After years of studying, months of stress, and countless nights spent crying in the LRC, hundreds of students were finally able to celebrate their hard work last month, with an emotional Awards Ceremony at the monumental St Albans Cathedral.
Over the course of September, hundreds of students took to the stage from various schools around the University of Hertfordshire, including the School of Life and Medical Sciences and the School of Humanities.
The ceremonies were led by Vice-Chancellor Quintin McKellar and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Ian Campbell, who were also joined by lectures, professors and doctors of the corresponding Schools.
Whilst the ceremonies seemed to last a long time, with extensive lists of names to read out, it didn’t take away the massive sense of achievement felt in the room. From the faculty staff to the guests eagerly waiting with a camera or phone in hand, everyone was in awe of the hard work and commitment the students had put in over their time at university.
Once all the degree certificates had been presented, one student from each School who was chosen by the University, would speak on behalf of their fellow graduates. Amongst those chosen were Bradley Johnson, now the Students’ Union Vice President of Communications and Media, and Rebecca Matthews. Both graduates expressed their gratitude to the University with Matthews describing her time at UH as, “Influential, enjoyable and enriching.”
At the end of each ceremony, Campbell expressed his congratulations to the graduates with a reflective speech, noting that every student would leave university with four characteristics that would guarantee them a happy and successful future:
“Self belief, motivation, focus and the ability to handle pressure and to bounce back from setbacks,” he said.
Campbell concluded, “Remember to always go the extra mile in whatever you do and work hard. And don’t forget us! We want to know what you go on to do with your life.”
As the formalities came to an end, the sea of graduates were seen running over to family and friends, taking part in the inevitable hat throw, and soaking in the atmosphere that marked the start of a new chapter.
Amongst the crowds of the new excited alumni, were Anil Tosar, Sarah Chinn, Laurie Hughes and Karan Jhajj.
Anil Tosar, 22 years old, MPharm Graduate:
Plans for the future:
“At the moment, I’m doing my pre-registration in Boots and I’ve worked there a month, but after I hopefully pass the exam I want to maybe work for them for a few years. I want to hopefully run my own independent pharmacy, but this is way down the line. I want to work for myself, eventually, because you can run the things you want to, and it will be such a rewarding experience to show you’ve come this far.”
Tips for Pharm Undergrads:
“Don’t get bogged down by your work. I didn’t have a timetable, and I wish I had done as it would have made things so much easier. Definitely don’t leave coursework last minute: I wasn’t a last-minute person, but you need to work ahead as I was stressed even a week before the deadline. Just be organised, and on top of yourself, and you won’t have any problems.”
Sarah Chinn, 22 years old, BSc Psychology:
Favourite part of University:
“Probably today! I think it’s all summed up to this because you’ve worked so hard after the last 3 years, and you’re finally getting to see all your friends in their robes. I think the ceremony is the best bit.”
Hardest part of University:
“Exams, definitely. We have a lot of dates and names to learn; I think I learnt 50 names and dates for one exam, all off by heart. I had lists of 50 pictures – word association doesn’t work for me.”
Words of wisdom:
“Go to lectures! It’s so hard to catch up if you don’t go to lectures, and definitely read around the course; get background information because I started without any psychology knowledge, and everyone was a little bit more ahead so they knew what they were doing. It’s better to do some background reading, definitely, and look up what subject area you’re into.”
Laurie Hughes, 21 years old, BA English Literature with Philosophy:
Favourite part of University:
“It is very hard to think of a favourite uni moment – I have had so many, and not all are appropriate for this article! However, I loved my time in the UHSU Drama Society – performing in the panto was immensely fun, and the after show parties we had were just as crazy!”
What was it like to graduate?
“Graduation was something very special; the sense of achievement you feel is awesome, and it is all enhanced by the grand Abbey setting where thousands of students have reflected on their education experience for hundreds of years!”
Plans for the future?
“I have loved my time at UH so much that I am staying on to study my MA, I hope to stay well connected with the research community at UH and pursue a career in academia.”
Karan Jhajj, 21 years old, BA History:
“This is going to sounds cheesy, but my favourite memory of university has to be how eye opening my degree was. Over three years my modules ranged from the colonial relationship of Britain and Africa, to the early modern period looking into bodies and sexuality. Lecturers committed to helping you in every way to improve your research and writing, I couldn’t speak highly enough of the members of staff who teach history.”
What was your graduation experience like?
“Graduation was a little surreal, but also a very proud moment.”
Plans for the future: