First of all, I would like to apologise for my absence. I was/am going through it, pray for me. This probably is the most difficult thing I have ever had to write or open up about. I kid you not my hands are shaking as I am writing this, but I know someone needs this.
I want to say congratulations to everyone graduating with amazing grades! It is a beautiful thing! Enjoy and celebrate, you deserve all that and more. However, the thought of finishing university is not positive for us all. I recently saw a tweet saying something along the lines of a girl saying she would commit suicide if she got a 2:2. The rage, the anger, the fear, the upset I felt reading that stupid comment cannot even be limited to words.
Here’s my story…
In terms of my academics, my first year was pretty chilled. I was not too worried because I knew I just needed to pass because it would not count towards my degree. So that’s what I did. I got a high 2:2. In terms of life itself, there were ups and downs but nothing that threw me off course for a substantial amount of time.
During my first year I put on some weight, so during the summer between first and second year, I ate healthily and went to the gym every day. I also met someone. Let’s put it this way, I looked good and I felt fantastic. I knew I had to focus more this year to get my grades up. However, the happiness I felt from my relationship quickly turned into misery, because of this my skin became terrible. I was insecure in every dimension of the word. I would lock myself away in my room, I went to the gym every single morning to distract myself. I would go into uni in the middle of the night to study just to avoid seeing a lot of people. I was on & off with church and God. My education suffered, I would spend hours “studying” but really I was staring blankly at the words on the pages, often wet from my tears. I was also placed on the pill for my acne and it REALLY messed up my moods. I knew deep down I would not do well, so I applied for impaired performance and a gap year.
My results came out and I almost passed out, I thought not doing well might be a high 2:2 again. I got a THIRD. What the hell was I going to do with that? I came to find this was partially because a piece of group work I had summited was under investigation for plagiarism. My whole group was under investigation, but I was so down, I did not get involved in the group chat drama. I just prayed and cried, hard. I did not want to attend physically to defend myself, so I wrote a letter. The university wrote back to me to apologise that the only text of mine that matched were the quotes used. With that coursework added I got a low 2:2 overall, which still was not ideal but anything was better than a third.
Early into my gap year Job, I finally got rid of the toxic relationship I was in. My skin started clearing up FAST. My body was in great shape, I was making money and I was happy again. Soon after I met someone new. Yes, I didn’t learn my lesson lmao. Towards the end of the year I started feeling apprehensive again, I knew I would have to smash final year in order to even get a 2:1 as my second year counted as 40% of my degree (which is quite high).
My skin was amazing at this point, not even trace I ever had acne, my relationship was still thriving, my body was different … but good. I could afford to get myself a nice 3-floor apartment for my final year, so I did. I made sure I was as comfortable as possible because I knew that year would need a lot of focus and discipline. I took my degree incredibly seriously. I attended all (well most lol) of my lectures, seminars, whatever it was I was there. I even went to one on one office hours for some modules. I saw my university tutor for advice, more than I had in my first and second year combined. Don’t get me wrong, I had struggles but I was refusing to get thrown off; the cracks in my relationship started to show, I was giving up on my youtube channel, I was putting on weight…AGAIN. Worst of all, I started having mini breakouts due to the stress. But, as I said, this time I was going to stay focused no matter what.
Throughout the year, I had terrible headaches on a daily basis, which I ignored. I then started to have visual blackouts, they almost did not feel real. So I only told my parents after it happened a couple of times. To cut a very long story short. I was admitted into hospital 2 weeks before final exam season. I was diagnosed with a condition called Idiopathic Inter-cranial Hypertension (IIH), in which there is no known cause for but does link to weight gain. I was in and out of the hospital and only returned back to uni to study for exams 6 days before. It was my worst nightmare happening all over again, of course again I applied for impaired performance.
Results day… I cried, I cried and I cried. seeing 58.9 for my degree mark was like a dagger in my heart. I had got 1:1 or high 2:1’s most of my final year, so it was my second year haunting me all over again. Even my final exam I was most worried about and threw up in-between I got 85%. I never really knew how impaired performance worked so I assumed I was granted it. It would be insane not to grant it to me considering all I had been through and the proof I had? My coursemate advised me to call the uni and double check. To my surprise, I was not granted impaired performance in my second or final year. My final year was not granted because my grades were above my overall average and of course it was too late to contest it for my second year.
So I appealed and the battles began. My appeal was rejected. So I appealed again, but my graduation date was creeping closer. I was advised by one of the people dealing with my appeal to attend my graduation regardless of whether a decision was made yet or not. It took all the courage in the world, but I did. I was seated in the hall, 14 minutes before the ceremony started, I received an email on my phone that my appeal had been rejected. That day I experienced a new level of wickedness, I also had my first and hopefully my last ever panic attack. I got a car as a graduation present, a party, gifts, over £1000 cash, my grandparents and other family flew out and NOTHING could give me a genuine smile.
I spoke to someone the next day from my uni and they said they would bend things a bit for my “exceptional circumstances”. They said I could repeat modules during the summer Special Assessment Period (SAP) with no supervision. So I spent the whole summer including my birthday doing so, I asked for help in every direction I could. I received my SAP results on the 21st of September 2017. One grade improved my 1 mark which had no impact on the overall percentage and one was exactly the same. I cried…I cried…I cried again.
A few days later I decided to call my university just for explanation. I had accepted the grades but I just wanted to know why. When I called, I spoke to my course administrator, who explained they were willing to offer a year free tuition and supervision for modules I would like to retake (they would have never told me if I did not call). On that same call, I was told, “You have been through a lot, 1.1% does not make you, if you were my daughter I would tell you to leave it here, it’s not worth it”, and for a second I bought it. I told my mum and she was raging “good thing you are not her daughter, you are mine and we can do this”.
A Year After Graduation
For a few months, I could not find a job, I was broke, newly single, insecure, and still battling with my health. I questioned my existence. I did not want existence. Friends never really understood, some never came to see me / check up on me despite my physical health issues. I quickly learned people will not do for you what you would do for them and my family is PRICELESS. People would tell me to be grateful for life and I never understood why I would be grateful for something that hurts so much. Since I had no job, I decided to do one university module…AGAIN. I was so embarrassed, so I kept it to myself not even my closest friends knew. I would always be “busy” / “working on something”. Soon after I did find a job, it was just that though…a job. Two months later I was headhunted for a much better role, and I got it. So here I was at my new job two weeks in asking for days off here and there because I was struggling to manage university work and a full-time job on the other side of the country.
I have made this story long enough, so let me put you out of your misery. On the 5th of July 2018, I got my results and I got a 2:1 in Social Psychology BSc Hons from a Top 5/10 university. For some people, this is no big deal but I am so grateful for my family and God for keeping me. The Joy I felt on this day made all the pain I have been through worth it. I have also just been discharged from regular hospital appointments regarding the IIH.
Whoever you are that needed this.. you are so much more than a certificate, your life is more valuable than a degree, you can achieve great things without it as did I … like starting this blog. However, if you want something, FIGHT FOR IT, it will be worth it… I promise. Take care of YOU, pray and trust God…always. Every situation is temporary.