Outstanding

What an incredible day.

So today I had my second-last class. It was a celebration with food and stuff and people would go up and read poems or bits of their stories or sing songs they wrote, and we all talked and said goodbye and everything. It was great. I loved it, even though I was the first to go up to read something (I read Traits, if you were wondering) and I was shaking like a chihuahua the entire time (at least that’s what it felt like). But my classmates and lecturers are amazing and once I got up there, I didn’t feel like I was doing a presentation or anything, I was just showing some work to friends. That was it. Besides, I chose a short and simple poem to minimize the possibility of messing up.

A lot of people showed off their incredible talent and we were all cheering for each other and praising each other’s work. It was the perfect example of the kind of community I had come to love at university. We’re all writers, we all understand each other better than non-writers do and we support each other and work together and make each other better. I’m really going to miss that.

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Me and Siân

After all the readings and songs, the lecturers surprised us with prizes. And the first person they called out was my friend Siân (remember her?) who won the award for Writing for Children! There were awards for Poetry (we all knew it would go to Matt) and Television Scripts and Film Scripts and other things and names were being called and gifts were presented, and then Ness (the amazing lecturer who was presenting the prizes) was done, and Glenn (the amazing Creative Writing Programme Leader who I’ve known since my first year but who’s never actually taught a class I was in) stood up to speak. I’m going to try to remember everything he said word for word but it’s not going to be perfect because it happened a few hours ago now.

“The last award is for outstanding contribution. Now I first met this person in the latter part of 2013—”

At this point, obviously, he could have been talking about any of us.

“—when she—”

Okay, so any of us who are female. Still, a lot.

“was in a play I directed.”

He directed a few plays that semester and there were other actresses he could have been talking about.

“She was a wonderful actress and since then, I’ve come to know her as a wonderful writer as well. In addition, she has done an excellent job as your student rep—”

At this point, I not-so-quietly whispered, “Oh shit.”

Guys. He was talking about me. The only other student rep is my friend Chioma and I knew she didn’t act, nor was she present. He was giving a small speech about me. And all my classmates seemed to have realized this at the same time I did (or maybe they just heard me swear) because everyone looked at me.

“—sitting through all those tedious committee meetings.”

I don’t even know what he said after that because people were already starting to cheer, but I think it was something like, “The Outstanding Contribution Award goes to Ivy Miller” because I heard him say my name. I got up and went to the front while everyone went crazy and accepted my prize and faced my awesome classmates (who I’ve had the honour of representing for three years, might I add).

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It’s REAL!

For just a second or two, I stood there and took it all in. I had been awarded the certificate for Outstanding Contribution, my peers and mentors were cheering me on, everything was incredible. If I had wanted to, I could have very easily cried right there in front of everyone. Instead I just went back to my seat, but my month has been made.

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So exciting! (This is like $100 worth of books!) Now to figure out how to get this all back to Canada…

Siân and I went for a late lunch after and hung around town, just celebrating and dog-spotting. And now I’m about to go for dinner with other friends (although by the time I’ve posted this I’ll have already gone and returned). And to top it all off, it was a beautiful sunny day in Winchester and I got a lot of compliments on my skirt.

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Springtime in Winchester.

Today has been absolutely amazing and I wanted to take it all down and commit it to memory. To any of my friends, classmates, or lecturers reading this: Thank you so much for being part of what has made my university experience so great. You are awesome.

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