The past week has been a very memorable one.
On Tuesday, I graduated from university with first class honours. It was such an amazing and motivating day. The tickets for family and friends to go to the graduation were limited, but I was lucky enough to get an extra ticket so my boyfriend, who is also my best friend, could come. He has been such an amazing support for me throughout my time at university.
In my first year of university, we had a long distance relationship. He was back at home, while I was over 100 miles away living in an unfamiliar place with no one I knew. It was terrifying, but I love new experiences and being in new places. Which doesn’t sound like something someone with social anxiety should say. I struggled around new people for sure, but being away from home for the first time was exciting!
My boyfriend and I remained strong despite being apart for a long time. In my second year of university, my boyfriend managed to get a place at my university! While in my final year at university, we moved in together and shared a small, cold, generally shitty apartment.
As I said previously, I struggled a lot with meeting new people. I moved in with a few girls I was living with on campus in my second year. There were times when I felt like these were good friends, but I later realised that they were not. But that’s a story for another time.
Anyway, I saw two of said girls at my graduation since they studied the same course as me. I greeted them politely and they complimented how I looked etc. I then spent the remainder of graduation day avoiding them, choosing to spend time with my boyfriend, who was the only person to stay by me and support me during my studies.
During the ceremony, I was one of the first out of a couple of hundred students graduating that afternoon. So, after the opening speeches had been exhausted in its length, I got ready to graduate. Of course this was extremely nerve-enducing for me, as it was for nearly everyone. I was even more nervous as a live stream of the ceremony was going out online, so my best friends and my grandparents could watch me.
So I waited at the edge of the red carpet, waited until my name was called and took a deep breath and smiled. I approached the chancellor and shook her hand with my clammy ones! She was saying things to me, but I couldn’t concentrate on that so all I could do was laugh nervously and go ‘Thank you, thank you.’ I then proceeded to walk straight off the middle of the red carpet, instead of walking to the end like I was supposed to. The chancellor still had my hand and whispered to me ‘No, you’re supposed to go around me!’ So I did go around her, but I went around her left side instead of her right! All this time I was terrified of falling over (I opted for wedge shoes to prevent the chance of that), that I focused too much on that and not on the actual proper procedure of the graduation. I think I must have looked really clumsy. However, I will try not to dwell on it because chances are, no one probably noticed, and if they did, they would have forgotten soon after. And who could have blamed me for messing up a little bit?!
So then I managed to get back to my seat (somehow. I don’t remember getting there!) and it had started to sink in that I had graduated!
The remainder of the day involved taking photographs and free food and wine, so it was a pleasant experience. However, I kept feeling really awkward throughout the day. I don’t know if anyone else with anxiety experiences this as well, but I cannot stand when I have a lot of attention on me. It is what makes my birthdays really anxiety-provoking for me because I don’t like people wishing me happy birthday and giving me more attention than I usually have. I can’t explain why, I just feel really awkward and do not know how to respond to such wishes and attention. Therefore, during my graduation, I obviously got a lot of ‘congratulations’ and it really made me feel anxious because I did not know how best to respond. My mum kept telling me to decide what to do next on the day because it was my ‘special day’, but I do not like deciding what to do with a group of people. I am happy enough just to go along with what the majority want to do. It probably sounds bizarre to some people not to like attention during an event focused on my achievements (don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of what I’ve done). I was trying to communicate my anxiety to my boyfriend once we got home and I had flopped on my bed (as the anxiety really exhausts me after a long duration of time), and we agreed that just getting my degree certificate in the mail would have been better suited for me!
It is quite a conundrum for me, as I thoroughly enjoy big events, getting dressed up and having a good time, but I cannot stand having so much attention! Overall, I would rate the day 9/10. And I would rate my anxiety levels as 8/10!
Meet Nala, my new puppy! She in now 10 weeks old and she is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a West Highland Terrier. Our 5 year old Border Collie, Dexter is still very confused as to what she is. She smells like a puppy but she’s too small and bouncy to be a puppy!
I am absolutely in love with her already, although at the moment she is in her ‘toddler stage’ so she only has two modes: Sleeping and eating everything in sight. Therefore, she cannot be left alone for very long at all! In comparison to Nala, Dexter seems like the most well-behaved dog and gets annoyed at Nala jumping up at him and nibbling his tail. Hopefully in time they will become the best of friends. At the moment however, Nala is very hard work (I am only finding time to write this post now as she is currently in sleeping mode!).
I will try to keep updates on what Nala is getting up to and how she is growing into a potentially good girl.