Sussex Grad At Home
Congratulations to our Class of 2020! You’ve achieved amazing things in extraordinary times. Now we want to help you celebrate with Sussex Grad at Home.
Get involved from home
You will have the chance to attend a special ceremony, hopefully in January next year, and we will be in touch as soon as we can with how to book your place.
Although we can’t be together at this time, we could not let this moment pass without marking your achievements. We’ve celebrated your success on our social channels and here throughout Sussex Grad at Home week.
A Class like no other
Our graduates share their memories and favourite moments from life at Sussex.
- Video transcript
Student 1: I don’t really think I’m the same person as I was five years ago when I stepped on to campus.
Student 2: I was so excited. I was with my family all evening. I did feel a bit overwhelmed.
Student 3: I remember I felt really really nervous. But it’s not nervous as in scared; you’re just so excited for new experience.
Student 4: My favourite place in the whole of the University was the library. I’d go there during the day, chat away for six hours, then have to stay there until 4am to finish the coursework that was due the next day.
Student 5: It was really easy to build your own little community.
Student 6: My friend and I, we saw it in the dark. I was like, what is that? Is that normal? We were just scared. Does it bite? Does it not bite? Can we touch it? And we just panicked and when we called security they told us it’s fine; it’s a badger. We just laughed the whole way home because we were so scared.
Student 7: I was so happy about us being located close to the South Downs. I remember looking at it thinking, I’ll never be bored.
Student 8: My flatmates knew I wasn’t from the UK. They decided to make me a Christmas dinner and teach me about it. I just love the experience to know about pigs in blankets, something I’ve never eaten before, or Yorkshire puddings.
Student 9: I think for me the best word to sum it up would be unforgettable.
Student 10: It’s one big adventure.
Student 11: The sun, the beach, the students, the way people dress.
Student 12: But honestly, I think it’s been amazing from like start to finish.
Student 13: It was just quite a unique, lovely experience.
Student 14: I really think, enlightening.
Student 15: You know we’ve left our Uni, it feels quite sad because you don’t really get to say a proper goodbye.
Student 16: My family and I decided to host our own Graduation in my back garden. Do awards and then have my friends on Zoom as well.
Student 17: I’m just raring to go; I’m really excited for the years I have ahead.
Download your kit
You can download your DIY Graduation kit containing cut-outs of the Sussex sign, Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar, OBE, two seagulls and some Sussex bunting.
Grad on your phone
Use the QR scanner on your phone to read this code, and be transported to our bespoke Graduation filter on Instagram.
Celebrate in style on Brighton Pier, at a Graduation, in front of the Sussex sign or keep it simple with a Sussex mortarboard.
If you don’t have a QR scanner, you can get the filters here: https://bit.ly/3fyBilU.
May your lives be interesting and may they be different.” Albie Sachs
activist, writer and former Judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa
Alumni messages for the Sussex Class of 2020
Some very special Sussex Alumni say congratulations to our amazing Class of 2020. We have messages from a former President, a Nobel Laureate, a poet and a comedian as well as writers, economists, politicians and more.
- Video transcript
Bogolo Kenewendo: Congratulations you did it! We are now incredibly proud to welcome you into the fold of the University of Sussex alumni and we hope that you continue to carry that spirit of curiosity and of investigation and excellence into the world, because the world expects nothing but it.
Hilary Ben: Sussex taught me many things, above all that we can change the world for the better, and we may now be living betwixt and between the old world and the new, but the future is yours to make. I know you’ll do a great job of it.
Beardyman: Don’t play their twisted game, make your name, find your own competition and win at it. Decide who you are, who you were and who you want to be. Earn as much money as you can and give it all to people who need it more than you do.
Sir Paul Nurse: Good luck with everything you will do next and for the rest of your life afterwards. But do not forget the University of Sussex, and the good times you had here. Keep in contact, you will always be welcomed back.
Sara Pascoe: You’re at the beginning of the rest of your life and I hope you keep learning and so does Mouse, and I hope you have a really wonderful Graduation ceremony in your own house. I hope you’re really proud of yourself.
Albie Sachs: When I graduated in the early 1970s, I was a refugee getting a PhD. When I graduated a second time, with an honorary degree, I was an amputee having been blown up and lost my arm and in March this year when I returned to Sussex for the third time giving the Draper lecture, it was interesting it was different.
Claudia Hammond: Even in circumstances like these times will change, things will get better I promise, and things do work out in the end.
Elizabeth Churchill: Your hard work and your dedication have paid off and here you are graduating. You’ve joined one of the best alumni networks in the world and I look forward to seeing you at an alumni network event and celebrating with you then.
Maria Fernanda Sierra Perea: Keep that critical thinking tuning, believe me it’s worth for life, not just for essays. And now think how you can use your creativity, your talents, to be part of the solution and shape a better world around you.
Festus Mogae: Just know that we are proud of your achievements and that we will keep you in our prayers. You will always remember this day, and so will all of us who would have been there to cheer you on.
Lilian Chen: I’m so happy to see all of you overcome these challenges and achieve your very best no matter where you have been in the last few months. With everything you have gone through this year with the pandemic, I’m confident that all of you can handle any unexpected challenges in the future.
Dean Atta: Think about all the small steps it took you to get here, and all the people that helped you to get here. So, if anything, now’s the time to reflect, maybe even write to the people who helped you and thank them. Congratulations.
Albie Sachs: When you all go out to wherever you go, may your lives be interesting and may they be different.
Sara Pascoe: Don’t kiss me it’s embarrassing.
A message for you from Adam Tickell, our Vice-Chancellor
Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Tickell, offers congratulations to the Sussex Class of 2020. In his special video message he praises them for achieving incredible things in extraordinary times and acknowledges their amazing resilience, creativity and determination in the face of unprecedented challenges.
- Video transcript
In another reality, I would be joining you and your loved ones at our seafront venue in Brighton to award your degrees and to celebrate your significant success. Whilst we can’t be together at this time, I couldn’t let this moment pass without saying a huge congratulations to you all.
Graduation is the highlight of the academic calendar and this summer I will really miss the unique celebratory atmosphere of the Sussex ceremonies.
I want to remind you that you will have the opportunity to attend a ceremony in the future. You have all earned the right to celebrate with your friends and family, to wear your gown, to cross that stage, and perhaps even to share a dance with Sanjeev, our Chancellor.
The Class of 2020 will go down in Sussex’s history, you have achieved incredible things in extraordinary times. You will be remembered for your amazing resilience, creativity and determination in the face of unprecedented challenges.
A University of Sussex education is far more than what you learn in the classroom; it is about preparing yourself to become a citizen of the world. You have collectively embodied the spirit of Sussex and we could not be prouder. Remember that all the skills and resilience you have drawn upon in the past few months will now become some of your greatest strengths as you take your next steps, whatever they may be.
I want you to know that our support for you does not end today. You are now part of our global and incredibly supportive alumni community. We will be in touch about all the services you can access to help you build your career or move forward in other ways.
However you are celebrating your degree and where ever you are in the world, I very much hope you are able to enjoy yourselves and recognise the scale of your achievement.
Many, many congratulations from myself and the whole of the University of Sussex. We are extremely proud of you.
A message to the Class of 2020 from Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar, OBE
Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar, OBE, would like to congratulate the incredible Sussex Class of 2020. In this special video, he offers his unique advice for graduates entering the world, inspiring them to live a life of kindness, compassion and gratitude.
- Video transcript
Greetings graduands and to your family and friends who might be watching this too.
Well this is weird. A graduation without graduates feels like swimming in just your socks. You can do it but it just feels… weird.
I’ve always been very aware that all graduates have faced their own personal challenges to reach their admirable goal of graduating. Financial worries, health issues, bereavement and for some, looking after children or relatives. You, the class of 2020, have had all those and in addition, the anxieties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. So your achievement is particularly impressive. So, very, very well done class of 2020, you’ve done us and yourselves very proud.
Traditionally at a Sussex graduation ceremony, after the fun and the noise and the rock and roll ceremony, the chancellor is supposed to offer up some closing wise words. Wisdom is a gift I’m yet to receive but here are a few thoughts anyway:
As human beings we all have contained within us the full range of emotions. But in challenging times such as these, many naturally find that the feelings of worry, fear and dread come to the forefront of our minds and those other feelings we do have such as optimism, creativity, hope and happiness fade into the background. I’ve found it useful to remind myself that those positive states are still within me but with a much quieter voice. I try and make a conscious effort to amplify that voice so I can hear it more clearly. To then make it loud enough to dispel any idea that all I have become is a vendor of negative thoughts.
Someone much smarter than me – and to be honest that could be a lot of people as most people are smarter than me – suggested that a healthy state of mind is to feel lucky. Not in any way that you have to prove to anyone else, but just within you, the deep core, private you. To feel lucky. You can interpret your luck in any way you choose; where you live, your family, your friends, your experiences. Even just one moment in your life can make you feel that sense of good fortune. And once you’ve identified that, you can go to it whenever you need to and it can become a beacon in the gloom.
The most impressive people I’ve ever met have all managed one thing. In whatever their circumstances from good to difficult, they’ve always kept kindness and compassion as the first step in all that they express.
Anne Frank, aged just 13, in her Diary of a Young Girl wrote:
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”
Compassion improves you as a person and undoubtedly improves the world around you. Ripples of happiness from a pebble of humanity dropped into a pond of uncertainty.
So hear your positive traits. Believe in them. Hold near your moments of luck and repeat your expressions of kindness until all of it is isn’t an effort at all but simply, who you are.
You’ve already started with this, your incredible achievement of graduating.
I really hope we get a chance to meet at a future ceremony, where we can lose the socks and swim like dolphins. Dolphins without socks! Just as nature intended. Actually that sounds even weirder. Scrap that. I wish you love, good health and good fortune. Till we meet in person. You’re awesome.
Sussex Grad At Home – A how-to...
Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar, OBE, explains how to celebrate graduating from Sussex while at home.
- Video transcript
Sanjeev Bhaskar here, your Chancellor.
Massive congratulations on your results, really well done. Whilst this summer’s ceremonies have been postponed, I look forward to seeing you at your graduation ceremony next year.
Now this is Josh. Hello Josh! He’s a second-year student and he’s also a digital media guru. He’s going to be showing you this print-off Sussex Grad at Home DIY kit.
Remember that famous concrete sign as you walk into campus? Well now you can make your own! Cut around the dotted line and fold along the creases. Now glue the edges and ta-dah! Yes, it’s smaller than the real one, but it’s also much easier to carry.
I would love to attend your home ceremony if you’ll invite me! Cut along the edges, easy round the head there Josh. Possibly even better than the real thing. You can tag me @tvsanjeev on Instagram or Twitter.
A Sussex celebration wouldn’t be right without seagulls. There, it’s like being on campus again. And some bunting, because who doesn’t love bunting? Find anything that approximates to a gown and cap and voila!
Be as creative and fun as I know you Sussex students are. Tag @sussexuni and use the hashtag #SussexGradAtHome or you can email your videos or pics to email@example.com
We’ll be sharing your home ceremonies throughout ‘Graduation week’ starting on July 20th. If you don’t have a printer don’t worry. From July 20th there will be some exciting graduation filters on Instagram. See you soon!
Time to celebrate
We want to help you celebrate with Sussex Grad at Home. We’d love to see photos or videos of your home ceremonies and graduation celebrations, tag us on social @sussexuni and use #sussexgradathome or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve even made a print-off Sussex Grad at Home kit, to bring you some of that Sussex spirit.
Download your Sussex Grad at Home kit [PDF, 1.5MB].
We know nothing can replace the real thing but, until you can attend your own graduation ceremony in Brighton, we want to help you celebrate and take a moment to recognise your achievements.
You’re a class like no other, you are the Sussex Class of 2020.