Gracie's Blog: I was the first person in my family to attend University and now I'm a UoB graduate!

Written by Student Content Shaper Gracie Ellis

After three years at UoB, on Wednesday 19 July 2023, I finally graduated alongside my friends with a BA in Politics and International Relations. What an unforgettable day it was!


After months of anticipation and build-up, the day finally arrived. We set off from my home in Sheffield bright and early and arrived in Birmingham at 10AM for my 12:30PM graduation. If I could offer any advice for anyone graduating, I’d say it’s never too early to get there; you’ll want to capture endless pictures, and the entire campus has an incredible atmosphere. You’ll want as much time as possible to take everything in!

Dressing For the Part

Then, I grabbed my final Starbucks from Bourny B (Bournbrook) and headed up to meet my friends under Old Joe for one last time! We then all headed to the Bramall Music Building to collect tickets for ourselves and our guests before heading upstairs to collect our robes. It felt quite strange; after measuring our heads and heights in our living room while still writing our dissertations in April, the moment had finally come! Everyone had their own individual fitter who made sure that our gowns and caps fitted us perfectly before we headed downstairs, all kitted up, to meet our parents with their cameras ready!

We then headed outside to Chancellors Court to take some pictures, before heading to the Nuffield Building to have our professional photos taken, which was a great way to remember the day. Another piece of advice I have is to absolutely make sure you have a photo you like in your graduation gown. You’ll want to look back on this day for the rest of your life!

Gracie 2

The Graduation Ceremony

After taking some more photos outside again, it was soon time to head into the ceremony. The whole thing was so surreal, but it felt like a very proud moment. Some of my friends walked across the stage before me, and we all let out a big cheer for them. It was soon my turn, and it felt great to walk across the Great Hall stage and spot my family and friends in the audience cheering me on. As I sat back down with my cohort, I even started to get a bit emotional reflecting on how I was the first person from either side of my family to ever go to University, and now I was officially a graduate from a Russell Group University. It was at this moment that I realised just what an achievement this is.

The ceremony itself was filled with so much tradition and a lot of cheering. One of my favourite parts was the brass band that played us in and out of the Great Hall, which sounded amazing. After the speeches and lots of cheering for our family, friends and lecturers who were all sat inside with us, it was time for the procession out. We headed out together walking under Old Joe, without any risk of failing our degree! We then carried on walking out onto the Green Heart where we took a whole year group photo.

Gracie 3

Continuing the Celebrations

Then, it was time for Prosecco! The School of Government arranged a great reception inside the marquee, where we could have some drinks, nibbles and chat with lecturers and other support staff. We continued to have some drinks with our friends and family sat outside on the Green Heart as the sun finally came out. It felt surreal to be sat on the very same campus which amazed me on my open day, but now, as an official graduate.

After returning my robe and collecting my certificate, my parents and I  headed into the city for a celebratory meal. To end the day of celebrations, me and my course mates then got together to have one final night out in Birmingham before saying our goodbyes.

It was an emotional day for sure, but one that I’ll never forget, and it truly was the best ending to the best three years at the University of Birmingham.

Congratulations to all our graduates! We’d love to keep in touch with you. Keep following our @UniBirmingham socials and join our alumni community.


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