Saturday, 6 October 2012

Graduation

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. Three hundred and forty one graduands. And Brian Cox.

Having already graduated once, many years ago, I wasn't sure if I needed to go through all the rigmarole once more. I'm very pleased I did.

There's something special about an Open University graduation. With students ranging in age from twenty two to eighty two, everyone had their own story of hard work and dedication, juggling so many more commitments than your average eighteen year old fresh from school. There was the actress, the Olympic medal winner and the partially sighted woman with eleven children. In hindsight the six years it took me to get a First Class Honours Degree in English Literature didn't seem so bad. If I've made sacrifices along the way, I can't remember them any more.

The setting was splendid. Grand and imposing, and with fabulous acoustics. You really had the sense of being part of a tremendous group achievement. The Presiding Officer did a fabulous job of recognising each graduand as an individual, and any suggestion - made by my husband - that he spent more time talking to the young ladies than anyone else, was in my opinion entirely unfounded.

Then there was the added excitement of the presence of Professor Brian Cox, receiving his Honorary Award. My husband, The Mathematician, was delighted to hear him talk. For my part, I was so intent on crossing the dais without falling over, that I didn't give him a second glance.



6 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Don't down play those sacrifices, having worked in HE for many years I know what it costs mature students who are trying to keep a family and possibly a job going at the same time. You deserve all the praise going. I must have been to two or three dozen graduation ceremonies over the years and they never fail to fill me with joy and pride for the graduands we are celebrating. My favourite moment, though was about five years ago when one of the young men collecting his degree was called Harry Potter. His parents can have had no idea what they were doing to him.

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    1. Congratulations! So glad you had a wonderful time to mark the end of a huge achievement. And Alex's story about Harry Potter did give me a giggle!

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    2. Thank you both for your congratulations. Studying something I enjoy so much made it (mainly) a pleasure rather than a chore. Perhaps that's just because I have a natural propensity to read books and waffle on about them!

      It's great, Alex, that you've kept your enthusiasm for graduation ceremonies. And yes, your story about HP made me giggle too!

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  2. Glad that you attended and had such a lovely day. A First Class Honours is a significant achievement and it's absolutely right that you should celebrate. Well done again.

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  3. Congratulations on your degree, what an achievement! I studied at (and graduated from) UMIST many moons ago and went on to live in Manchester for many happy years. My dad also graduated from his Open University degree at the Bridgewater Hall nearly 10 years ago. It is the most amazing building. My sister and I were sat right at the top. When his name was called we stood up, whooped, cheered and wolf whistled him as loud as possible. He turned to the audience, gave a bow and did a thumbs up signal to the top seats where he knew we were sitting. Behaviour so unlike him, as he's usually so proper. A very emotional day - we all had a family cry later, then got drunk!

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    1. Hello Sarah. Well done to your dad! You're right, the Bridgewater is an amazing setting and the OU ceremony was a great occasion. I think it's almost impossible to do OU study without the support of your family, so graduation does become a family celebration.

      I must confess I had a little cry and a drink or two as well!

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