I'll *officially* be graduating from University in November with a First Class Degree in Graphic Design. I've pretty much known it since receiving my final module results about a month ago, but it was nice to have the confirmation written out in front of me on screen. Over the last month O've spent a lot of time thinking about my degree and what I think having a First Class Degree means for me, and here's why I'm a tad underwhelmed by it...
I think more than anything this feeling of disappointment is probably rooted in my discontentedness with my portfolio. While I can reflect back on my first year work and see that I've made tonnes of progress over the last couple of years, I'm still not sure that my work's reached a level yet that i'm happy with, or that I think is worthy of a 'First Class Degree', but that's the thing with creative degrees, isn't it? I don't think they ever actually reflect the overall quality of your work, but rather the effort you put into achieving it. My tutor said at the end of the year that he doesn't believe in grades, and I'm totally with him on it. I'm graduating with a First Class Degree, but I really don't think that my work itself is first class. My attitude, commitment and perseverance throughout my course has been first class, of course, but that doesn't change the fact that my work itself is still probably sub par, and because of that, it all feels a bit cheap.
With all that said, I think I can still take a step back and say that I'm probably being a bit too harsh on myself. It's fine to not be where I want to be, heck, who knows that I ever will be! For me, the end of University signifies the beginning of my journey as a creative, not the end, so there's nothing wrong with me being at a point where me and my work are still naive and need building upon, because that's what's expected of you as a graduate; you've been taught the basics, and now you're shipped out into the real world to start applying your skills, and that's where the real lessons are learnt and progress is made (or at least I hope it is!)
While University hasn't left me with the groundbreaking portfolio I may have hoped it would have, it has left me with a completely new outlook on life, creativity and the creative industries, and I'm not sure I should have ever expected anything more from it. I'm a completely different person now at the end of my studies compared to who I was at the beginning, and if that doesn't signify progression, then I don't know what does.
To conclude, of course i'm happy with my degree. I'm happy with my time at University, the lessons I've learnt from it, and surprisingly, even some of the work I created while I was there. I'm hoping my First Class Degree will now act as a stepping stone to something better, a foot in the door to the career that I hope to pursue. I don't know everything (I was never going to,) and my work isn't fantastic (I shouldn't have expected it to have been,) but with the qualities that I believe my degree has brought out in me, I'm hoping that I can carry on progressing until I reach a point that I'm happy with as a 'creative' individual.
Here's to being a graduate, I guess!