On Wednesday 3rd December, I graduated from my master’s degree. It was a year of laughter, love, stress, tears and hard work. But more than that, it was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, in more ways than one. I won’t lie to you – it was more work than my three years at my undergraduate degree combined. Over ten exams, a 28 page magazine, two group projects and articles written by the dozen. Overall though, I probably learnt more and grew more as a person during this one single year than any other time.
“I’m so proud of you”
“I love you”
“This is such a big achievement”
“You’ve done brilliantly”
It’s strange but yet so interesting how much you grow as a person
Graduating from my undergraduate degree was hard. Graduating from my master’s degree was easy.
If you really want something in life, you work hard to get it. We all know it’s usually the things we want the most and that mean the most value to us that take hard work and passion. This party of my life definitely needed hard work and persistence. Especially seeing as at one point, I wasn’t planning on doing it.
Whenever that happens to you, or even if it happens to you, it’s always good to take a moment to picture your life if you hadn’t done the thing that made you. What would have happened if, after my year out, I decided not to do my MA in Magazine Journalism?
- I’d probably be working in a job that didn’t make the most of my skills.
- I wouldn’t have this blog.
- I’d be in a place in my life that I wanted to get out of.
- I wouldn’t be who I am today.
- I wouldn’t have started the rest of my life.
That seems like a completely difference lifestyle compared to today. Do you ever find that? And usually, the reason you choose to do this, is for the right reasons. It always has a positive impact, it always does you the world of good and it always works. But more than that, it marks a point in your life where you think, “this is where the rest of my life began.”
So, as a reflection on what has been a life changing year for a 23 year old girl, here’s how my life has improved, all down to completing a year of hard core education. I hope you can identify with some of these points and take comfort in sharing your life altering stories too.
1. My career started
Between 2ndJuly when I handed in my final project to today, I’ve been offered three jobs, two of which I accepted. Amongst those, I’ve also attended countless interviews and gained some more work placement opportunities. There are two main things I’ve learnt during this time. The first is to grasp every chance you get with two hands. When I was offered the job in London, of course I said yes. It’s only in the aftermath when you learn if it’s going to work. This wasn’t going to work but it didn’t matter – I’d still been offered it and no one could take that away from me. The second is to always have your dreams and aims right in front of you. What will you learn from this job? Will it lead you to the career you want to have? Can you grow, learn and develop?
If the answer to all these questions is yes, take it.
What I’ve found to be most important is to find something that you can make your own and really have an input into. Who knows where you’ll go from there.
2. I met people I could really talk to
To cut a long story short, during my undergraduate degree I had an amazing group of friends and a boyfriend. When I graduated, I had no friends and no boyfriend. I don’t want to sound like a sob story and I’m definitely not one either. That time in my life is something I’m now grateful for, because I probably wouldn’t have done my master’s degree unless all that happened. When the first day came around and I met the other people on my masters course, I instantly knew I had nothing to worry about. Those guys are some of the loveliest I’ve ever met. We were all in it together. We spent every moment together, worked through all our assignments together, revised together and got through it all. It makes you realise that some people in your life aren’t meant to last forever – other people just come in and replace them for the better.
3. I pushed myself creatively
Throughout life, motivation has always been easy for me. Coming up with ideas hasn’t. But over the past couple of years, I’ve found that the more you push yourself, the more your creativity will flow and the more you’ll have to produce. Sometimes, when you’re given an assignment or you come across a task at work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to think, I have no idea where to start.
But only you have the power and capability in your abilities.
From the amount of content I created during my master’s degree, to the content that I’m creating continuously on my blog, it’s actually quite outstanding how much I’ve grown creatively. My aim was to create things that were out of the box. That’s why for my final project I created a men’s magazine instead of a women’s one. There are little choices you can make throughout your life to push your mind. They may not be easy, but they’ll always pay off.
4. I overcame my fears
By this, I mean I overcame the fear of failing. The fear of having too much work, the fear that I might not be able to do it.
But the only way you can overcome your fears is if you face them.
Being creators, there are some general fears that apply to all of us. Will I run out of ideas? Will I be successful? Will people like my idea? What happens if they don’t? What happens if I fail? But, as the quote goes, what happens if you fly?
Thinking you can do something is the first step. There’s more chance of you completing something if you believe in the fear and overcome it. Plus, it’s one of the best feelings in the word once you do.
5. I became the bigger person
You come across people throughout your life who purposefully make things difficult for you. During high school, the immaturity levels are sky high. You expect them to decrease as you move through education. But honestly? They don’t. It’s quite funny actually. I think there’s a huge difference between living your life in a fun way and just taking it too far.
Some people think that by not facing up to the fact that they’re an adult means they can just avoid it.
But the truth is - they’re just running from it. Do I want to be a teenager again? No. Because I thought I left all that ‘high school drama’ behind me. But people still come along who spread rumours, give dirty looks and try to make out that they’re better than you. They always will. Does it work? Of course not! You realise that you’re the bigger and better person. You find yourself questioning why they’re living their lives in this way when they could simply just try and get on with you. But no, that’s clearly far too much to ask. Because you know what the root of it is? Jealousy. So if they make you want to cry, shout or scream, don’t let them. You obviously have things that they want. You’ve got them. They don’t. So they don’t like you. But look at what you’ve got. Something that helped me was writing this down and telling myself what I had. An amazing family, a loving boyfriend, a healthy body, talent, a positive future – this isn’t blowing your own trumpet.
This is celebrating what you have and why you have it.
You and I have these things because we deserve them.
6. I learnt to ignore people and prove them wrong
Moving on from the previous point is something else that relates to this. Haters are going to hate, and unfortunately they’re always going to hate. For no reason. Sucks doesn’t it? It’s quite entertaining that they don’t have anything better to be doing with their time other than try to tear you down. But that’s the thing – the only thing they can do is try.
Why? Well because you’re not going to let them do it. They may have the memories of seeing your smile fading in a certain situation. They may take pleasure in the fact that they did something to annoy you. But look at the memories you have. I have the group spirit we created - the fact that we did each and every task together. I have the future I’m building with my partner, Tom. I have the success. More than that, for me though, is knowing that
I didn’t play the game.
I have the true, pleasurable feeling of knowing that I didn’t do anything to provoke these people. I just came to university and had a journey. Because really, who the important people in your life going to believe? The others, or you? That’s when everyone in your life proves themselves. And the people in my life certainly did and still do now.
7. I learnt that I am stronger and more capable than I thought
I was known as ‘the organised one’ during my master’s degree. Whenever there was something going on, they asked me. So I told them.
The things you want the most are always what require the hardest work.
My stress levels during that time were the highest they’ve ever been. At one point, I didn’t know how I was going to cope. So I completely broke down. But looking back at other big points during my life, I learnt something – a breakdown is always needed.
You panic, cry endlessly, say ‘I can’t do it’ over and over again, until finally, it stops. This point for me, was taking a break from my blog. I didn’t want to do anything halfway so I didn’t. But I came back so much stronger. I remember the next day my mum and I created a timetable of work that planned out the next two or three months of my life. Family was incorporated and so was my partner – he was going through the same thing.
The thing that made me stronger was having people there to cushion the fall.
Knowing I could go home to them, knowing they’d understand was one of the most crucial things during that time.
8. My appreciation for my family grew
I’m in awe of my family.
My mum would, and still does everything physically and mentally possible to help me get through everything. My dad would make me endless cups of tea and bring them up to my room where I was surrounded by books and paper. My boyfriend would, and still does, listen to every word, help me and know exactly how to make me smile and feel better. My brother would, and still does, come out with one liners that always completely sum up the current situation. And the rest of my family would just always be there.
The fact that they’re now so proud of me just enhances my appreciation for them even more. That is something that will never change.
9. I fell in love
It’s the classic story. Girl starts a master’s degree determined not to meet any boys – well that already did it, didn’t it? Boy notices girl. Girl notices boy. Boy asks girl out. 14 months later and here we are, both in full time jobs and planning our future together. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I’m open to talking about my relationship on this blog – it’s all about branches of my life so it just seems right to me.
This is a branch of my life that I’m incredibly grateful for and lucky to have every single day.
The memories we’ve created are unbelievable. But more than anything, the place we are in now is the best. We thought we were good during our master’s course, but now? It’s amazing. We grow stronger every day, listen to each other, appreciate each other, live our lives and have fun. A soppy point, but a crucial, life changing chapter.
10. It put my life into perspective
Every day I write down three things that have made me smile that day. These are how my Moments of Happiness posts are created. The aim is that, eventually, I’ll have books and books full of happy moments from my life. I’ve also been putting some of these in a jar that I’ll read out with my family on New Year’s Eve.
What a magical feeling it is, to know you have things in your life that make you smile and feel good.
I am a very lucky person. We are all. Sure, our lives aren’t perfect, but is anyone’s? What’s important is having little things in our lives that make us feel truly happy. Family, pets, friends, food, nice clothes, good music – anything and everything can be included and that’s the beauty of it.
Are there any moments that you've been through that have changed your life? I'd love to hear your stories.