2008-2011: The University Of Southampton

I looked around at all the other people dressed in the same ridiculous get up that I was now dressed in and concluded: graduation was a strange day.

After spending three years living somewhere and attempting to achieve something, it was all over.

I thought back to a now comical altercation I’d had with my dad almost four years ago. A lot had happened since.

I’d spent six months in Africa trying to decide what it was I wanted to do with my life.
chris-bilko-graduation
I’d overlooked the fact that Africa was far too fun a place to decide what it was I wanted to do with my life.

I’d panicked on University application deadline day and applied to study something called economics, mainly because someone had once told me it was an upmarket version of business studies.

I’d gone to Uni and discovered that economics was not an upmarket version of business studies.

I’d been involved in print journalism, radio broadcasting and creative advertising; I’d made some lifelong friends; I’d shared some unforgettable experiences and I’d picked up some lifelong memories.

And now here I was on graduation day and, after three years of living somewhere, attempting to achieve something, it was all over. Crucially, though, I now had a pretty clear vision of the kind of career I was going to pursue.

I handed the graduation programme to my dad and he had a quick look through to find the page with my name on, with the star next to it indicating I’d achieved first class honours.

“There’s only about four people with stars on” he muttered without looking up.

I smiled. Four years ago our relationship was at an all-time low. But now, even though he couldn’t quite bring himself to say it directly, I’m pretty sure he was proud of me.

Who’d have thought I’d have made it this far?