Disclaimer: I actually still have my dissertation to complete before my degree is official, but we had the ceremony anyway so had to celebrate.
Yes, despite another 10,000 words to write about human rights in the Middle East, and an extra semester in Berlin for the fun of it, my degree is complete!
I can’t believe I passed (with decent grades). I went from studying English Literature to International Relations; changing my style of essay writing, knowledge of theories, and even attempted economics.
After two years more or less in Spain, can I speak Spanish? Not really…
But I am so relieved I am at this point in life. A year ago my doctors were advising me to either take a gap year, or study at a UK university. Not that they were willing to stop me doing what I want, I really have supportive doctors. They were worried the Barcelona weather would make me ill (it does sometimes), I was worried the stress of a degree would trigger a flare, but instead I have lupus in remission, and a fancy diploma certificate one year after being in A LOT of pain, and a not too great kidney.
I have also met incredible people from all other the world. This degree has been eye opening in so many ways, not least for the people I now have as friends, who are just as wonderful as any of my friends. I am spoilt for how lucky I have been.
So what next? If this degree has taught me anything, it’s that unless you’re parents have the right contacts, you’re gonna struggle to find a job worthy of this degree. Yay…
So, I will return to the UK in about ten days (boo), spending the summer spicing up my CV with volunteering in many ways, which I’m VERY excited about (this includes Amnesty International, my dream NGO to work for). Then I will head to Berlin in October for an extra semester! Also very excited about that, I love Spain and Barcelona, but I feel like Berlin will quickly make me feel like I belong there. Will I pick up German just as quickly? Nein…
It hasn’t been easy living with lupus, I’ve seen it affect people to the point of quitting work or university, affecting their grades (it has affected one of my grades which is a huge annoyance, a black dot on my otherwise great transcript), and I’m worried it will one day prevent me from continuing to do what I want – travel, live abroad, have fun, work hard, and basically be passionate about life. But for now, it hasn’t. I’ve had an amazing year, and I have a fun future to look forward to (remind me of this when I’m crying and sending out my 100th job application). I know I’m lucky that the remission has allowed me to do this, for many it isn’t the case. But I’m glad that I can be living proof that resilience (or stubbornness), optimism, self-care, and the support of many good people, shows that lupus needn’t be the life sentence it is. You can still do great things.
Of course, I’m not even 23 yet, so hopefully I have many great things ahead of me.
But for now, I’m going to enjoy my last few days calling Spain my home.