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9 / The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

Last week was a special week for myself and many other Royal Holloway final year students. It was graduation week. My graduation took place on Tuesday morning at 10.30am. That day, my family, my best friend and I set off at 5am to my university. Why so early? Well, 1) it's a two hour journey, 2) we wanted to avoid traffic and 3) we had to arrive early to get ready. This is the downside of choosing a university so far away from home. There was an alternative way, which was to go and stay in Egham the day before, but we ignored that idea. Whether or not that decision was wise is doubtful, as by the end of the day everyone was so tired from waking up so early, but at the same time we certainly saved money from booking accommodation.

Thank you to my best friend and my boyfriend for being my photographer that day :) 

Fellow Biological Science graduates 

After arriving and taking photos, my guests and I went separate ways. My guests went to get seated in the Picture Gallery and the Church Chapel (they were separated since all the tickets ran out for the Church Chapel), whilst I got ready with the other Biological Science graduates in the Windsor Building. We were aligned according to our degrees and in alphabetical order. Luckily I had Alice beside me, so I wasn't alone. Someone gave us a set of instructions for the ceremony: give your name card, wait to be called, shake hands with the principal, collect the scroll and walk away. He told us not to worry and to just look at the person in front of you if you was unsure. Lucky I'm not the first one to set the example haha.

When it was time, we began to walk from the Windsor Building to the Founders Building. We walked through the Picture Gallery and the Church Chapel and then went outside to wait for our turn at the ceremony. Honestly I don't remember what happened when it was my turn, except that I was feeling really nervous. I remember thinking afterwards "did I shake the principal's hand (I did, confirmed by the professional photograph) and feeling awkward as I walked out with all the guests watching (introvert problems).

My awkward face.

It really sucks how the weather that day was not that great, that is at times pouring rain, which made taking photos a difficult task. Funnily enough, this week, the weather is hot and sunny (a rare occasion for British summer weather). We can't control the weather, but we can make the most of what we can. We made use of the time when it didn't rain before the ceremony and whenever it stopped raining afterwards. Also, personally I'm not a photogenic girl, so taking photos of me was already a difficult task haha.

Anjalee graduating on the same day as me and Yong Xue but with an English degree!

Natalie, who's practically my sister :)

Like I mentioned before in this blog, a common joke known amongst RHUL students is how people don't know such university exists. In fact, I don't blame them because I didn't know there was such university to begin with until my teacher recommended it in year 13, and most universities are named after geographical locations. When I first visited RHUL, I was incredibly amazed (lured by the beauty of the Founders Building), and it was enough to change it to my firm choice which I previous didn't consider.
  • First year was undoubtedly the best year of my university life. At the beginning, I was very lost, struggling to find the right group of friends and struggling to understand lectures and practicals. When seeing second and third years having a good time, I wondered whether the situation will get better. It did. I found a group of friends, who became my best friends, and I soon got used to the nature of learning in university. First year was very carefree, it was a time where studying wasn't stressful (first year results didn't count) and there were opportunities to experience new things, and the best of all, enjoy the company of friends. Also, I lived in the Founders building, the most beautiful place on campus, for the year.
  • Second year was challenging, but it was still good. Academically it was tough, from studying four whole modules in first year to eight half modules in second year, and from completing proformas in first year to writing practical reports in second year. But I managed to do well and I even got my first choice for my project, which was allocated based on results. Socially it has been interesting; I started volunteering as part of the Community Action team and I met inspiring people. There was no such luxury of living in a catered student accommodation like in first year. But I did have the luxury of living with my friends in a house and it was really fun, although campus was no longer 5 minutes away and I had to learn to cook for myself haha.
  • Third year was really difficult, but there were some good times. Academically it was strenuous, with the content being much more complex, the ridiculous amount of extra reading I had to do, and having a project where I was confused most of the time. Not to mention, the exams were dreadful. But the content and the project was really interesting, and I managed to do well in the end by achieving a 2:1 overall. Socially it has been enjoyable; I continued volunteering, lived with a different group of people, and did a lot of fun things, such as going to society's ball, summer ball, and grad trip with my friends in Barcelona.
Over the past three years, I have met so many wonderful people, learnt so much and grown as a person. So what happens now?
Next stop: Masters at Imperial College London.

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