Today I am grateful to be here, at this point in my degree.
Tomorrow I hand in my final assignments. 1 dissertation. 3 projects. 20,831 words. Over the course of seven months I’ve looked at 6 different composers, 4 genres and have analysed 6 pieces in detail. I’ve gone from being unable to write a musical analysis to feeling confident that my best shot doesn’t sound like it’s been written by a six-year-old.
I will never be 100% happy with anything I produce – I don’t think perfectionists ever are – but I know that I have given everything I could to my assignments. Every time I received feedback, or was given advice on how to improve, I tried as hard as I could to take everything on board. Whatever happens on results day I will know that I physically and mentally could not done any more.
If, at the end of second year, you had told me that I would feel sad to be at the end of my degree, I would have laughed you out of the door. My degree was always a stepping stone that would allow me to become what I wanted to be – a teacher. But this year changed things. I was inspired, encouraged and enlightened. I found my thirst for knowledge reawakened and, this semester, I have actively missed my favourite module from before Christmas. I don’t feel finished. I want to know more, to ask a million questions, to listen, to read, to understand and explore.
My friendships have also strengthened in the last seven months. The pressure this academic year has been intense and we have all gone through a lot. The expectations seemed to jump alarmingly and, all of a sudden, we were expected to be ready. I definitely wasn’t ready, but I have been so fortunate to have such fabulous people around me. Friends, family, mentors. People who truly cared, who gave me support when I needed it, who lifted me and believed in me when I was on my knees.
I am sad that tomorrow is effectively the end of my degree. Yes, we still have to get our results and graduate, but this chapter is coming to a close and a new one is set to begin. I am excited, if a little apprehensive, about what is to come. Next year I will be on the same campus but everyone will have moved on. Admittedly most of my time will be spent in school, but my days at university will undoubtedly feel weird. I hope that I will find other kindred spirits on my course. People who truly want to teach and aren’t just there because they don’t know what to do with their degree. Teachers have so much power and influence, and I firmly believe that it’s something you have to want to do with your whole being.
So, I’m grateful for this year. It has been so difficult on many levels but also tremendously rewarding. I have proved to myself, as much as anyone else, that I can do it. I can get through more than I thought I could. I have more strength and resilience than I previously imagined. And I am so proud of my friends, for their willpower, their compassion, and their abilities. Watching the end of year recitals last week was incredible. I felt so honoured to know such fantastic people.
Tomorrow we celebrate, for ourselves, for each other, and for the people who helped us get there… Bravi tutti!