Well, we made it. As baby-faced freshers with student loans burning holes in our pockets, graduation seemed a lifetime away. Now that we’re all a dishevelled three years older and elbow-deep in our overdrafts, it has finally arrived.
Graduation probably means something different for all of us, but whether you can’t wait to be the centre of your adoring family’s attention or you’re just focusing on getting through the day without tripping onstage, it is a culmination of three years of incredibly hard work for all of us, and we should feel proud to be here.
For many of us, graduation means returning to the Toon after a couple of weeks at home nursing our caffeine addictions, treating the bags under our eyes, and waiting for the traumatic flashbacks of Robbo silent study to subside. During that time some of your mates might already have got jobs and be well on track with their ten-year plans. Others will still be staring blankly into the void wondering what to do with their lives (which is also a perfectly fine position to be in at this point, let’s all stay calm), but no matter how you’ve spent the time since finishing you’re degree you will have inevitably missed Newcastle.
As well as attending a great university with an amazing reputation, during our time here we have all fallen in love with this beautiful, wonderfully mad, and incredibly friendly city. It has been home for the past three years, and for some graduates it will continue to be. For those of us moving away, we can take confidence in the fact that this city will always feel welcoming upon our return, whenever that may be.
Whether you come back to Newcastle in one year or ten, while you’re here today you should congratulate yourself on what you have achieved and look forward with optimism to the countless opportunities that await you as a Newcastle University graduate. Sentimental rubbish aside, it’s time to enjoy your time back in your home-away-from-home with the people who care about you, bask in your academic glory, and celebrate the reason we all moved to the Toon three years ago (that would be our degrees, not three trebs for a fiver).