A Different Sort of Graduation

It’s been a busy week with a lot to process. I’ll begin by saying that 3 years ago I was all set to celebrate finishing A Levels at the year 13 leaver’s meal.

Three years since my first Parkrun, and since then I’ve completed over 50 5k runs, a few 10k runs, a 10 mile run, and a local half marathon.

Oh, and a BA Hons degree in English Literature. More about that in a moment.

Last week I took part in a LURAC team event, completing my run in 30:46. Sure, it wasn’t a PB, and sure it was the slowest entry, but the team I was part of didn’t come last! Hills slow me down, ok…

Or do they?

Let’s imagine that my degree was a hill. No, a mountain. The rocky sort of mountain, with undulating terrain. Moments when I got too close to the edge, and moments when I paused for a second to take in the view, consider how far I’d come.

And I have come a long way. I know I’ve made mistakes, and I’ll probably continue to make mistakes, but I’m learning all the time. Taking time to breathe, focus on myself, do things because I want to, because I love them.

I’m currently working on a few equestrian articles, with ideas for more buzzing around in my head, applying for equestrian apprenticeships, still thinking about an NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism.

I want to make a difference in this world, want to focus on making equestrian sports more mainstream, more accessible, more diverse. And I guess it all starts with the media – with literature, with culture. I wrote my dissertation on the representation of Autism Spectrum Disorder in literature, and hopefully I’ll be able to include my dissertation on here once results become official (provisionally I achieved a First, including an A- in my dissertation). But it goes beyond that. It’s about raising awareness, giving people voices that represent them accurately, not being afraid because we’re uneducated. These past few weeks alone, I’ve read (listened to) The Bluest Eye, Girl, Woman, Other, His Dark Materials, and I’m currently on Becoming by Michelle Obama. Next up, I’m planning on revisiting Jackie Kay’s Trumpet. All of these – including His Dark Materials – raise issues of innocence and experience. Reading is learning.

Jess

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