I’m 21, fresh out of university and ready to get my life going.
The Coronavirus had other ideas.
On March 13, I sat in my last lecture and had my last drink at the Students’ Union bar – without knowing it.
When I’d waved goodbye to my friends that Friday I had expected to see them the following Monday ready for a week of coursework submissions and end of an era celebration.
Our glasses are yet to clink.
While I have many things to be grateful for during these strange times such as my health and a loving family to lockdown with, it’s hard not to imagine what my last days of university would have been like if Covid-19 hadn’t arrived.
Instead dissertation deadlines were met from my dining room table, moving out became a masked mission and the final hand-in celebrated wearing a mortarboard from mum’s Amazon basket.
However, while at first came the sting of ‘no summer graduation’, this period of anticlimactic celebration has taught me one or two things about how we should cherish our successes.
Achievement exists beyond the celebration
Now more than ever, we are beating ourselves up about things we have little control over: redundancies, rejection emails, opportunities we didn’t seize.
But what we don’t remember is that buried beneath this rubble of self-doubt is an archive of triumphs and achievements we lost sight of just because we moved further down the road.
In other words, whilst there will always be times in our life when we kick ourselves because something didn’t go the way we planned, we all have a part to play in cutting ourselves more slack and reminding ourselves when things did go right.
Yes, I may not have my degree yet, and by the time I graduate my dissertation will feel like a distant memory, but when I eventually hold that scroll it’s going to be a moment I’ll cherish and remember forever.
Not just because I finally got to attend the fancy ceremony and wear the real cap and gown, but because this period has taught me that achievements are worth more than just the one-time celebration.
They’re milestones which will stick with us for a long time – providing we hold on to them.