I waited over two months to receive my degree results and it was a complete joke

*Googles if a university can un-graduate you*

For all of us, the UCU strikes and marking boycotts took their toll on the last year, and for most they are a thing of the past. Despite packing up my third year house, taking pictures at the rock, and most importantly doing that stride of pride across the graduation stage in July, I didn’t receive my degree results until 20th September.

The university’s communication skills are ridiculous

Cast your minds back to the shit show that was results day – people on the same courses, same modules all getting different results at different times, and for many, no results at all. On results day itself I received an email copy of my transcript just before 5pm which told me my dissertation mark and nothing else. The week before my graduation I got my other essay marks back on my transcript so was mainly relieved to have a rough idea of what my degree might be.

They sent me an identical email three times

I received an email from the uni on 13th July telling me that if I didn’t have my marks by 1st August they would be in touch. Roll on the 1st and I received an email decreeing that they now had all my marks, but they had to go through the Assessment, Progression and Awarding Committees (APACs). The email read: “This process takes usually takes eight-10 working days so we expect to be able to release your mark(s) to you in approximately 10 working days.”

An identical email promising my results in a further 10 working days was sent on 15th August. I hoped this would be the last stretch in what had already been an agonising, stressful, and exhausting process.

The university incessantly pushed marketing for their alumni community and masters programmes whilst giving no real support or communication for the effects of the marking strike

Believing the 30th August to be the end date for this rigmarole, over a month after my graduation, all I received was an email with a copy of my interim transcript which I had already been accessing and checking daily via SRS. And, to top it all off, there was no mention from the university about when I would be receiving my classification.

I had been given multiple dates from the university for when I would have my results, none of which were true. Moreover, there has been no apology from the university about the huge ongoing impact this has had on my personal life, professional prospects, and my mental health.

It was a never-ending rigmarole of broken promises

On Tuesday 12th September the hallowed email came in the form of an automated message with a link to the eCertificate portal online. Making an account and logging on, there was the promised icon of “documents”, with one unopened link. My disbelief that this could be the end was unfortunately founded, as when I clicked “view” the dreaded icon “OOPS, something went wrong!” popped up, informing me (after a quick Google) that there was no content to the document.

In true Exeter Uni fashion, the helpful “report” button to help resolve any issues was also malfunctioning. The mandatory drop down box under “issue reason” had no content, and consequently couldn’t be filled. Completely unsurprised, I turned to SID and rang them up to try and settle this once and for all.

As helpful as they were, all SID could do was log a ticket with the graduations team saying my file had been corrupted and they needed to re-upload it. Asking with naive hope if they had an idea of a timeframe for this, I was greeted with a lengthy exhale and “sorry, no idea – it’s the graduation team’s issue.” Understandable, but once again infuriating.

It ruined my experience

I had an incredible three years at Exeter – despite Covid-19 in the first two years and the biggest UCU strike in history, I still managed to make the most out of it. However, this final issue was beyond a joke – I struggled to apply for jobs, I never properly celebrated with my family, and mostly, I just wanted to know what three years of hard work had resulted in.

The university orchestrated a false narrative that our demands and expectations were unattainable under the circumstances owing to the UCU strikes but it’s just not good enough anymore. Above all, university is a business – I have paid £27,000 for a degree that arrived two months late.

What’s perhaps worse is I feel like I only got my degree results once I contacted the University Press Office for comment. It went from no contact or help in three months to two emails a day and my results within the week.

A spokesperson for University of Exeter told The Tab Exeter: “While the vast majority of students have received their full marks and classifications, some faced delays in receiving all their marks over the summer as a result of the nationally organised UCU boycott of marking and assessment.

“We have great sympathy with those affected by these delays and apologise to those for whom our updates have caused further frustration, but have been working tirelessly to ensure they receive their full set of marks as quickly as possible. 

“The university has been in regular contact with students, both before results were originally due and over the summer, including giving estimated timelines for marks to be received where possible.

“We remain committed to ensuring all marks are fair and accurate and will support students fully as they progress to the next stage of their academic life, or into employment. Students can also gain support and advice from the University’s Wellbeing Services across all of our campuses.

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