Reflections Upon Turning 21

It’s been a few busy days, my dear readers. Spectral Visions was followed by my 21st birthday, which was then followed by me receiving my results. Of course, in true Stephanie fashion, this was all topped off by me falling ill. I’m writing this from the safety of my bed, so please forgive any tangents. This was already going to be a long post.

I won’t try and condense Spectral Visions in to a paragraph for you. I’m currently working on a summary for the Spectral Visions blog, which I will be reblogging for you all to read. But I will give you an anecdote of the day: during the closing remarks, Steve (our Head of Department and all around saviour) pulled the Visionaries up on stage to thank us for our hard work.

And that’s when he asked me and Chloé to step forward.

For those new to my blog or who just don’t remember, a few months ago I started the Spectral Visions blog, where students could submit posts and writing to be shared with you lovely internet folk. Chloé was the first student to submit work to me. She wrote a brilliant piece on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and feminism, and I was more than happy to advertise it everywhere. And because of her genius and some well-placed sharing, Chloé was invited to the University of Chicago, where her work would be printed in an academic journal. The university was proud, and I was definitely proud. Chloé deserved all the credit, but I somehow managed to steal some when Steve thanked me for my blogging. He even announced that I would be the guest blogger for the Christmas season over at the Postgraduate International Gothic Association blog. I’m the first non-PhD student for a while it seems.

So there I was. Stood on stage, holding Chloé’s hand, fearing that if I let go of her I’d tumble off stage, or the earth would swallow me whole. Hundreds of people were looking at me. But I stayed there; I smiled, made a joke and graciously returned to my place in the wings.
That’s when I realised how much I have grown since coming to university. Even in September, I was not comfortable being the centre of attention. In one memorable occasion, twenty people were looking at me, and I went red and had to leave. On that day, I faced my anxieties. I think they call that character development.

My birthday was great. I got some really thoughtful presents and cards, and I feel truly loved. 21 is something monumental for some strange reason. Once upon a time, it meant getting the key to the house. I don’t know how literal that is, but I’ve had a key to my house since I was about eleven. But it was nice to celebrate a big birthday with all of my family. I feel awkward about bragging about such an intimate familial affair, but just know I am now 21 years old.

More importantly though, I got my results in the mail. I will be graduating from the University of Sunderland with First Class Honours. My degree is BA (Hons) in English and Creative Writing, something which I recently did a post about not being worthless. Now I definitely get to do my MA English, and hopefully that will lead to a PhD.

This post quickly became an elaborate Update from Wonderland. I’m sorry about that.

For a moment though, I’d like to reflect on how far I’ve come. Aged 21, I have a degree in English. I have had my work published. I’ve become a working woman. I’ve protested, been in interviews, and interviewed the brightest stars in the Gothic Studies world. I’ve started a Feminist Society, been elected president, and made so many friends I am grateful for. Friends I will be sad to see go this summer.

University has been good for my self-esteem and anxiety. I found my passion again! And that is the most exciting thing I have to report. Passion is what I preach constantly here at Aspiration and Might, and it’s something I hope everyone finds.

And so, dear readers, we reach the end of another blog post. I would like to take this moment to thank you for your continued support.

Let me ask you this: what landmarks in your life are you approaching or just passing? Do you have anything you wish to say to your past self? And have you got your results yet?


About Stephanie Gallon

I'm an author, a blogger, and a zealot of all things written. I work as an English teacher in England, and have a PGCE PCET, a distinction in MA English studies and first class honours in BA English and Creative Writing. I have more degrees than friends
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