28 February 2018: Memories come in flurries much like the flurries of snowfall outside the British Library, as I sit to pen down my farewell blog for my BSc International Relations journey at the British Library’s Rare books and music reading room, on a gloriously sunny and snow-engulfed day in London. A journey that I undertook four and a half years back will culminate in the form of the graduation ceremony in a few days. Time has moved fast and I am more than halfway across the line, as an MA Music in Development student at SOAS.
The very first blog I posted here was about my aims of balancing both my music and studies. By no means has that been a walk in the park. However, had it not been for the University of London, it would have simply been impossible.
It is only because of this University that I have been able to continue my music and enter into a master’s programme focusing on music. When I initially registered as a BSc Accounting and Finance student, I had the slightest idea that I would be considering conducting academic research into music. My whole trajectory changed when I shifted to the BSc International Relations programme the next year. Studying the social sciences and music at the same time made Music in Development the perfect thing for me to pursue. The endless reading lists, the exam pressure, the challenge of studying independently have not been very easy to tackle. However, going through all of this has made me tougher and better able to deal with any situation. Drawing from my experience as an on-campus student, I feel that despite attending lectures and having personal interactions with faculty and friends, the ability to learn independently is second to none.
Attending the Foundation Day Ceremony at Senate House immensely increased the pride I have as a part of independent student community at the University of London. Getting to see the enthusiasm and pride with which HRH The Princess Royal spoke to me about the University was immensely gratifying. Our Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Adrian Smith was delighted to hear about my experiences with the University as well. What struck me was the emphasis both HRH The Princess Royal and the Vice Chancellor gave on the worldwide distance learning programmes of the University while delivering their addresses.
For fellow students who are new or are about to join, I can tell from my personal experience that the journey is worth it. Studying my bachelors’ at this University has given me access to the minds of world-class researchers and cutting-edge research. More than the ceremonious act of graduating on 6 March, it will be the failures, tears, the learning experiences that I will treasure the most from this journey. All it takes to pull this off is support from the family and will. For me, it would not have been possible were it not for the constant support from my mom, dad and grandparents. I’m highly grateful to my uncle as well for encouraging me to start studies with the University of London in the first place. The fact that hundreds of fellow students like me all over the world have been given a chance to study at one’s own pace and time, is truly wonderful. The egalitarian nature of the programme is something to be truly celebrated.
All the best to my fellow-students who are currently pursuing their studies! It’s all very possible!
Congratulations to all my fellow-students graduating in a few days!
Budhaditya studied the BSc International Relations by distance learning in Kolkata, India.