Words by Joanna Dine-Hart, Union Development Executive 2020/21
If you had asked me three years’ ago what my graduation would look like, I never would have guessed I would have been sat at home, working at my desk completing my degree and Facetiming my family with my results. Although, I never would have guessed I would have become an Executive Officer, graduated with a First or done half of the things I have either.
Sitting at my desk today I look back at my time at De Montfort University (DMU) and feel emotional at all the wonderful experiences I have had, all the opportunities I have been given and how proud I am of the person I have become.
Not only am I proud of myself but I am extremely proud of every graduate this year. Determination, resilience, passion and patience are just a few words I would use to describe you all. Tremendous strength has been shown from us all and I am so happy to be a part of the graduating class of 2020.
So, what has graduating during a pandemic been like? For me, a lot of 4am nights finishing my degree, a lot of tears and rather a lot of chocolate, although that last one is not much different to what I was doing the last few years! Finishing a degree is hard enough, let alone during a pandemic. I may have cried at times because post-university blues do exist! However, I have chosen to see this as a positive. No one else will go through this, everything we have experienced truly portrays who we are and everything we have learnt at University. The skills we have picked up over these last few months, spending time with family in new ways and even learning things about ourselves we never would have if life had just carried on at its same fast pace.
No bias when I say DMU and De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) have been amazing. I know there have been so many ups and downs and nothing has gone perfectly, but to change our systems overnight and to keep over 20,000 students as safe as possible is no small feat. The No Detriment Policy implemented by our Academic Executive Laura Flowers helped so many of us, me included. Without the support of DMU and DSU staff I never would have graduated with my degree and so many memories.
If anyone asks me what graduating during the pandemic was like, I will honestly say it was the biggest pain but greatest experience. I have a story to tell and memories to last a lifetime.
To all graduates no matter the journey you have taken and what a journey it has been, feel proud of everything you have achieved. Take a breath and know whatever life throws at us we are prepared. The world won’t know what hit it! Congratulations Class of 2020, we did it!