Izzy's Blog: Graduation was the most special, unforgettable day I could've asked for.

Written by Student Content Shaper Isabel Clarke

Graduation is one of those lifetime milestones that felt pretty surreal to me, a day that symbolises my personal achievement, and where one chapter of my life was ending, but another one starting. On Tuesday 18 July 2023, that milestone finally came around and it was the most special, unforgettable day I could’ve asked for.


Embracing Change

Some would argue that my cohort of students didn’t have the most plain-sailing university experience. Starting during a global pandemic was not quite how we all envisioned our first year, especially the boundaries and restrictions it placed on our experience. However, I think the slow release into “normal” life made me more grateful for the opportunities I experienced in my second and third years of study.

It made me sign up to as many different societies as I could, explore as much of the city as possible, and savour those on-campus moments that I sadly missed out on in the previous year. I had a greater appreciation for just how fantastic UoB is as a place of study. I realised this especially on my graduation day when it had finally hit home that my time here was over. I was sad to say goodbye.

Celebrating on Campus

The best part of graduating at UoB for me was the fact we got to celebrate right here on campus – we got to hold those last special memories of university right in the place where it all began (and I think we can all admit, graduation photos with Old Joe and the Chancellor’s Court in the background are pretty epic).

The Great Hall is just the most magnificent, grand space and having the live music played by the University Symphonic Brass ensemble was, for me, as a music student, the most spectacular experience. Although the ceremony was somewhat a mystery (most of us had a clue what was to happen or how to walk across the stairs – pray forbid none of us tripped or fell!), I think it made us attentive and take in every fellow graduate’s success as they accepted their congratulations. As a top tip, I’d recommend that you read up on your emails from the Graduation team to be more prepared than us!

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Composer Paul Mealor was awarded the Honorary Doctorate during my ceremony, which felt incredibly significant to me as I’d sung his music before, even here at the University. ‘Mr Blue Sky’, which we walked out to, was another I had sung as part of the University Commonwealth Choir last year and made it an even more memorable occasion.

Ready for a New Chapter

Graduation is the last chance to congratulate and celebrate your individual and shared success of completing a degree – make the most of it. I’m so glad I got to see all my magnificent classmates, who I can now call life-long friends, graduate alongside me while sharing it with the people who helped and guided me along the way.

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I certainly took my fair share of photos, boy did I make the most of wearing that cap and gown: capturing my love for campus (specifically Old Joe) and flaunting the fact I reached the incredible milestone of graduating from a degree I love.

I’m not quite sure what the next chapter will entail but if spending the past three years in a city full of culture, vibrancy and endless opportunities is an end to the previous chapter, then I’m more than happy to close it.

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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