24th October 2016. I graduated from the University of Chichester.
24th October 2018. So much has changed.
It's that time of year again where I reflect on what's occurred since I graduated University.
Even though it was only 2 years ago since I left, it feels like much longer because my University life feels like a completely different world compared to the one I am living now.
I guess it's because I am a completely different person now compared to the person I was back then.
And I am in a completely different career now than I anticipated on having when graduating...
Looking at the person in this picture is like looking at a total stranger. I am not the same person as I was then and frankly, I am glad.
Back then, I lacked in confidence and lost it due to feeling like I had wasted three years of University life on a degree that I was no longer going to pursue.
I felt Graduation would be a waste of time and a waste of celebration because I didn't know what I had actually spent my last three years working towards other than a big student debt.
Looking back, I realise now that my graduation was worth celebrating about and my three years of University wasn't a waste of time.
Fair enough, I am not pursuing a Musical Theatre career, but what my degree has done for me has opened up other opportunities for me. And being in a creative job, I believe my degree has given me that creative edge to think outside of the box.
Plus, I am doing theatre on the side with my singing and my pantomime shows, so not all is lost.
I also look at this person and see someone who was unsatisfied with their life. And overall, wasn't a very happy Nicole.
I was in a temp receptionist job, which was not the worst job in the world, but it wasn't the job I had hoped to land myself into straight out of University.
I thought I would be soaking up the theatre atmosphere as a producer, or an assistant theatre practitioner.
I was also in a relationship which, I can admit now, deep down, I no longer wanted to be part of.
I knew I wasn't happy and the relationship wasn't what I wanted anymore. However, looking back, I am glad he was by my side to see me graduate. After all, he was there for me the whole three years of University, so it was really the perfect way to end my time at University... even if the relationship ended shortly after.
But I have no regrets. Graduation was a day of celebration and it will always be something I am proud to have done.
Last year, I wrote a post on what had changed within one year of graduating and I expressed my hopes for the next year. Reading this post back, what I wanted back or what I hoped would happen is a whole different story to what has actually happened in that last year.
It's honestly mad how time can change someone.
I mentioned how I hoped to still be doing well in my Digital Marketing job and how I wanted to train and become an editor.
That didn't happen, as my career, as you know, has taken some bumps this year. However, I am now back on track and heading towards a marketing career ever since I started my new role as a Sales & Marketing Assistant. I am also on my way in getting qualified, as I start my Certificate in Marketing in April, so onwards and upwards!
I mentioned how I wanted to keep in touch with the University friends I have managed to sustain friendships with beyond University.
I am in touch with probably two people now. All those promises of staying in touch after University certainly faded away very quickly, but hey ho, life moves on and people grow apart. But the two people I do speak to on occasion are ones I hope to see very soon.
But I am still incredibly close to the friendship group I had this time last year, who live in my town, so at least I've got a solid group of friends around me still.
I also mentioned how it *might *be nice to be back in a relationship, as 2017 single Nicole was full of hope and perhaps feeling the sting of being single. But as you may know already, I have met my Mr Right and we're planning on moving in together next year (yes, really... the girl who never thought she would cope living with any boy!)
So I guess I can put a big tick next to that box.
But the biggest thing I mentioned last year was that I hoped I would still be writing this blog. Well, I think it's obvious to say that I am still here, happily typing away my thoughts and my days.
And my blog has really taken off since last year. It's going in the direction I want it to, I am reaching the right type of audience I am aiming my content to, plus for the first time, I am not worried about numbers - I'm just happy to still be doing what I love.
One big thing that has changed since last year's post has been losing my Grandad earlier this year. Just looking at the photo above where my Grandad is standing next to me smiling away, looking so proud, makes me feel very emotional. I was his first granddaughter to graduate and I remember just how proud he was to see me walk across the stage to receive my degree.
I am so grateful he was still alive and well to see me achieve that. I am just sad now that he will miss out on the other stuff I'll achieve in the future. But I hope he's looking down on me, smiling away and telling me to stop being so soppy!
So that's my two year update since I have graduated. It is honestly mad how time can just fly by and how much can change in such a small space of time.
But what I have learnt in the last two years is not everyone's path is the same. Yes, you may have graduated from the same degree and the same University, but everyone has a different timeline to take.
And my timeline is definitely different to how I expected.
But sometimes, taking the path less travelled is okay. My path has had it's up's and down's, but I'd say I'm doing pretty well, don't you think?
I'm just going to take each day as it comes, go with the flow and enjoy the ride.