• Megan Mariah

Completing My Degree In Lockdown

After 3 years of studying and a 1 year placement, I have finally finished my degree in Fashion Promotion from The Manchester Fashion Institute. It feels so good to say that, however it feels a little different to how I thought it would feel. Why? Because I completed it in the midst of a global pandemic, and handed in my final projects through my laptop, sat at home.

If you had asked me this time last year how I thought my final year would go, I would have said it would be just like all my other years. I would be going into uni every day, sitting down in my lectures and seminars with my friends, learning through face to face tutorials, using all the facilities available to me, and completing my degree in the way I ultimately wanted it to be completed.

Little did I know that a curveball was coming to not only me, but students alike across the globe.

Thinking back, I am so grateful to have had lectures up until March this year. Without that time with tutors and peers, I'm not sure how my degree would have panned out. If anything, I am now one hundred times more grateful for that time, something I definitely took for granted before now. You don't realise how important something as simple as time can be, especially when it comes to your degree which you have worked so hard to achieve. One on one time with tutors, time using the photography studios, time in the library, time to sit with friends on your lunch break, running to catch that train on time for your 9am lecture. It all seems so small and insignificant at the time, but when all that is taken away from you, it really makes you realise how lucky you were to have all those luxuries, many people would kill to have.

Although it could be said that many things were no longer available to us, it became our job to adapt and think in ways which would help us achieve what we wanted, even without the so called 'necessities' we had before. Being a fashion student, it was always drilled into me that I had to think outside the box, be creative with my projects and push the boundaries. So, I took this as an opportunity to show my tutors, my peers, my friends and my family, exactly what I could do, even in the midst of a pandemic. I took this as a challenge to produce exactly the work I wanted, in exactly the way I wanted. No pandemic was going to stop me achieving the marks I knew I deserved.

Going into my final months as a student with this mindset, allowed me to complete my degree in exactly the way I wanted. I utilised the facilities I had. Photoshop and Illustrator became my best friends, I took advantage of the Zoom tutorials and lectures set up by tutors, I asked for help when I needed it and I motivated myself to sit and work the way I would have worked whilst still in uni. No, it wasn't easy. Sitting at home trying to work with a million distractions around you is never going to be easy. But when you have the reward of completing a degree which is all your own at the end, that's pretty good motivation. Together with the ongoing support of everyone around me and knowing that millions of students were in exactly the same boat as me, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride, knowing that I was going to be a part of a class who graduated during a pandemic. A class full of self-motivators and a class full of students who weren't going to give up.

During this time, I finished my degree. I got my highest marks out of all my 3 years, with a first in every project I handed in. My highest overall being my dissertation, something I worried about to no end. I am proud of that achievement. No, me and my classmates aren't getting a graduation ceremony this year, and at first, I was devastated. But now, knowing I have a first-class honours degree to my name is enough, to make this year a good one for me, even if the circumstances weren't what we wanted.

Congrats Class of 2020!

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