Michelle and I boarded a Monday morning coach from London to get our degree results. It was all quite relaxed until we neared Headington and I clammed up. This was an important day. If I didn’t get an LLB with First Class Honours, my chosen career would be over before it had even begun. I’d heard about snobbery in the legal profession and my education was from an ex-Poly.

We got off the coach. It was a lovely sunny day, clear blue sky with a fresh breeze. A knot tightened in my stomach. Michelle and I walked hand in hand toward the front door of the campus. Inside, we went up the stairs and along the corridor where the results were pinned on the walls. We parted to read our own degree results. Everything had come to this moment. I stood before the law board with a sense of foreboding and began from the bottom. Through the ordinaries, 3rds and then the 2:2s. My name wasn’t there, so I looked at the 2:1s and ran my finger up the list. Not there. I’d either failed or got a First. I looked at the First Class Honours section. Two names. Not second. I looked up.

Holy fuck, I was top with a First!! I put my face in my hands as it sunk in. From University drop out to First Class Honours. I was happy with that. Wherever I was heading, at least I’d got here! I took a moment and breathed in and out real slow. Tears were in my eyes. Finding Michelle, we shared our news. She’d got a 2:1 in her BA degree. We hugged.

Graduation day was soon upon us and we were awarded our degrees wearing gowns and mortarboards. I got a proper photo this time. It was really special that Danny, Michelle and I graduated on the same day.

Just before I left Oxford, I received a letter from the Vice Chancellor congratulating me on getting a First in my law degree. Also, I talked to my personal tutor on the telephone while I was waiting at Victoria bus station in London and she thanked me for choosing to go to Oxford Brookes. She wished me the very best of luck for the future. And so, my time in Oxford had drawn to a close. I loved those days. Brilliant experiences were had and I made friends for life. I played football, kept fit, earned a couple of degrees and enjoyed myself beyond anything I could have hoped for.

Michelle and I decided to move to London so we could study some more and eventually find work. We arranged to rent a flat in Harrow, hired a van and packed our stuff. An hour-long journey along the M40, with Danny’s enthusiastic help, and we were there. It was a small, one bedroom mid-terraced garden flat on Harrow View. We unpacked our gear. Before long, we waved goodbye to Danny. A good friend who I knew was for life. Michelle and I continued a tradition we began at Ridgefield Road in Oxford. We had a Chinese take-away on our first night at the new place. Now I was going to try to qualify as a barrister. I had no contacts in the legal profession. But I was determined. Really determined.

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