One Door Closes, Another One Opens – My Graduation

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Watch this video above to hear my thoughts on the degree and see me graduate!

Happy Wednesday everyone! This week, I am talking all things graduation. A day of remembrance and memory making. Three long hard years came to one special day, the achievement filled my heart and the pressure was finally lifted. Want to know more? And delve a little deeper into my experience and why I am struggling at the moment? Keep reading…

My graduation fell on a Thursday morning which was a little awkward but we still managed. Luckily, I am a morning person and I was pleased to get this over and done with in the morning sitting. Let’s skip back to the day before… The day before, I didn’t feel mentally ready to graduate. I was afraid, anxious and in a stage of mental discomfort. I have struggled with my mental health since May and subconsciously I have always been a very anxious, nervous and isolated person. Despite feeling these emotions, I have always strived to help other people. Making other people smile is something that gives me life, it gives me purpose and it distracts me from my own problems.

However, before long, concentrating on other people began to take over and I began to neglect my own mental well-being. In May, I went through a very tough time with my personal relationships and everything began to break down – I am very good at hiding this and this is exactly what I did. These problems that occurred in May, heightened some deep problems within and made me realise it was the time I did something about my mental health. Despite these struggles, I have studied hard. I woke up at 5 am every day and I sat at my desk working hard. I researched, I delved into the new reading material for my course and I pushed myself to the limits… Everyday. I would cry at my laptop about personal issues and I would cry because of my stress levels but I always envisioned myself walking up on stage and collecting my certificate. Envisioning my goal allowed me to succeed and become productive. As soon as I doubted my abilities; I thought of myself on the stage jumping up and down with the certificate in my hand. A little warning: studying for a degree is mentally and physically exhausting but totally worth every struggle.

If you want something enough and you’re passionate, you can certainly achieve the end goal and cross the finish line (however, it is never a true finish line, it is always the beginning of something new). Since day one of university I pushed myself, I tried my hardest and I always stayed keen and creative. Many things occurred and made my university life challenging. Although I wanted to give up numerous times, I didn’t stop. I carried on and I am so glad I did. My teachers were incredible, the location of my university was extremely convenient (15 minutes from my family home!) and the layout of my course structure was perfect (1 day a week in class!). I couldn’t be any more grateful.

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Maybe it is the time I told you what I studied? Duh… – I studied BA Honours English: Communications at Work. This course had a diverse range of elements and ticked every box for me – media, psychology, business and much more. It was creative, challenging and packed full of new and old theories. I learnt more than English based skills, I learnt skills for life.

However, despite studying an English based course I was originally from a very creative background. I studied Fashion & Clothing, Art & Design at the college prior to applying for this degree and I have always had a creative soul. I had no previous English qualifications, apart from GCSE level grades. Despite this, I showed my passion, I expressed how determined I was and I encouraged the teachers to take a risk. I was eager, confident and focused. I attended every open day, I asked the teachers questions and eventually, I got accepted onto the course to study English. It was the best decision I ever made.

My fashion teachers from my college did not agree with my decision (to study English), however, despite their comments, I listened to my heart, I listened to my inner voice and I went to the top. That is one thing I have learnt studying this degree, always listen to your heart and always follow your ambitions; people are allowed to have opinions but you can choose whether to listen to them or not. I chose to take a leap and step out of my comfort zone. I now channel my creative energies through the English language and various other dimensions.

I met some incredible people along the way whilst studying and I have gained some strong relationships. My class was a close network of hard working people; all very different, but we all had the same passion and drive to succeed, this was extremely motivating and contributed to the amazing experience. I love you guys – if you are reading!

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My wonderful teachers that supported me every step of the way.

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The two most important people in my life, my parents.

I graduated at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. This was the perfect venue for this occasion, decorated in our corporate colours and the stained glass windows shined so brightly in the sun; it really did feel special. B&FCBlackpool and The Fylde College was plastered everywhere and it made the day truly feel like ‘ours’. As a college and university, we are one big family, we work together to achieve our dreams. No giving up is in the equation. Moving forward is our only option.

Now I have graduated, I do feel a huge sense of relief and some pressure has definitely lifted (no more essay deadlines for now!)…  After graduation, I took some time out to relax and re-energise. Whilst studying, I prioritised my education and I sadly let other things become neglected. I spent every single day studying – yes, even weekends! And occasionally I would get myself to the gym for some ‘time-out’. For me, this worked at the time but was extremely stressful on my body and mind. However, I now have a little balance back in my life and I do believe I am making progress.

It has been tough balancing all of the components of my life and pleasing everyone. Taking a step back from my blog was something I had to do after graduation, the time away allowed me to realise how important it is to be selfish sometimes. Listen to your body, take time out and do the things that make you happy. The graduation day was a mix of emotions and was a day I had been waiting for, for a long time. My friend from London came to visit (as a surprise!), I sipped champagne, ate afternoon tea, laughed that much my tummy hurt and I cried about old memories. It was a wonderful celebration and I want to thank everyone who made it that extra little bit more special.

I did feel a little lost on my graduation day because something seemed to be missing. I worked that hard for my degree I totally lost the connection within myself. I lost who I was as a person and I became obsessed with studying and succeeding – it encased me, swallowed me up and made me abandon a lot of things. I lost Jessica. I lost my hobbies, I lost my happiness levels and I lost all connectivity within myself. I knew from the day after my graduation, things had to change.

Yes, I may seem happy on images and across social media… But remember, this is only a small fraction of my life. A very small fraction. Don’t judge, don’t compare and remember, we are all human. We all break down and cry and we all doubt ourselves. But remember, the difficult times shape us as individuals. They make the journey worthwhile and challenges lead us to unknown destinations. I am now on a journey of mental healing and I am currently dealing with some past issues to ensure I can move forward with a clear mindset (when I have finished my treatment I shall be sharing my story to inspire others). I am excited for what the future holds and I am now glad I can put closure on my degree and move forward.

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Without my support system around me, I would have struggled with completing this degree. I have struggled a lot and I have encountered some extremely challenging situations, but I managed to get through and embrace every moment. I embraced the late nights crying, I embraced the cold mornings walking to my Nana’s office, I embraced the long days in my pj’s (because getting dressed was a time wasting activity, I needed to essay write!), I embraced the long days reading books, writing and typing. I embraced every single inch of the degree and I cherished every memory, even the upsetting ones. Do you know why I cherish my journey? Because it has made me feel amazing and it has shaped me as an individual.

When I stepped up on that stage I was filled with an incredible feeling of relief, gratitude and honour. I could not believe after three years of hard work I had achieved such an incredible accolade. An accolade, I once thought I was incapable of receiving… I ‘thought’ that I was incapable. However, I did not listen to my mind. I listened to my inner knowing, my heart and my passion and I stayed dedicated, passionate and determined. I can officially say, I worked my a*se off to achieve a first class honours degree! And I am so proud. Every victory should be celebrated. No matter how big or small.

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Green tea and champagne? Isn’t that a healthy balanced lifestyle? Or have I got this ‘health’ thing incorrect?

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A quick snapshot of the wonderful flowers off my brother! The more colour, the better.

What happens next you might be wondering? My aim for the next few months is to catch-up on errands, to catch-up with family and friends and to do some activities I have always wanted to do. I want to travel a little, I want to heal myself mentally, I want to become ‘Jessica’ again and I want to stay motivated, dedicated and inspired. I want to STEP UP my blogging game and I want to be more creative. Studying for my degree did ‘cap my creativity’ a little and I now believe I have the correct tools to strengthen my blog and my writing approach. I can’t wait for what happens next. My approach at the moment is very relaxed, I am taking some well-deserved time-out and I am focusing on the things that make me happy.

I want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments, cards and gifts. I have been spoilt rotten and I still feel overwhelmed. I am so glad I got to share the special day with my favourite people and I will always reminisce on these memories that have been made. What the special day made me realise was that I am capable of anything I set my mind to, I am ready to embark on a new journey and I am totally ready for a new challenge. One door closes and another opens. This is the beginning of a new journey and I can’t wait to take YOU with me.

If you have followed my blog for a while I want to thank you for standing by me and for not giving up on me. I hope my writings inspire you, brighten your day or transport you somewhere else for 10 minutes. Thank you for being loyal and thank you for giving my content a read. It means the world to me. If I have made an impact on you, please contact me and let me know – I did go through a stage of wanting to delete my blog but that no longer is the case. No matter how much I have impacted upon you, I would love to know. Please, please, please contact me: jessicairenemarieward@hotmail.com .


 A future full of smiles! 

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Evening celebrations; dress off, dungarees on (dungarees are the perfect thing to wear if you plan on eating lots of food) & of course, I paired them with my wonderful shoes.

Happy week everyone! Let’s grab this week with both hands and achieve our dreams. Eat some cake, eat some vegetables, read a new book, complete your to-do list, take some time-out and breathe… Everything is going to be ok. Trust me. We all encounter new challenges each week, it is up to you how you choose to react to these challenges. They can either control you, change you or make you stronger. Choose how you want to react. You are not weak, you are strong. Be productive and don’t forget, always be grateful.

Keep up to date with my adventures and follow me on social media!

@positivelyjessicaward


GET CAUGHT UP

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Jessica, x

4 thoughts on “One Door Closes, Another One Opens – My Graduation

  1. healthystrawberryblog says:

    Absolutely loved reading this! You are truly an inspiration with he warmest of hearts. I am so proud of you and know how well you are going to continue to do in the future, wherever that may lead you! Wishing you so much love and the best of luck xxx

    Like

    • Jessica Ward says:

      Hi lovely, thanks for stopping by and taking the time out to read my blog post. It took a while to write but so glad I did for my own reference. Thank you so so much for your kind words. That has made my whole week. You’re wonderful. The same is certainly said for you too. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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