Graduation Day

4 years. 3 universities. 30 courses. 80 assessments. 5 practicums. 1 semester abroad in Canada. 1 internship.

And a helluva' lot of memories…

Yep, that’s right. I finally graduated from university with my Bachelor of Education. BOOM.

There are some moments in your life that are just huge. Monumental in their magnificence. Staggering in their significance. I’m talking about the breathtaking milestones that make up the very core of your existence; that conceive and give birth to memories that stay with you long after the day has passed on; moments that become a fundamental patch in the construction of the quilt of experiences blanketing your life.

For me, my graduation day was one of these moments. And it was as beautiful, glorious, and rewarding as I had dreamed it to be.

Looking back now, I can’t believe how quickly my university experience passed me by. I know that it seemed like a long commitment at the beginning, and at times, I was filled with a terrible sense of self-doubt and crippled by overwhelming expectations. There were many 'WTF have I done?' moments, I assure you.

But now, at the end of the journey, I look back upon those years with a fond smile and know in my heart that I was never *not* going to end up where I am today; that I was always destined to succeed and flourish at university; and that my time as a student would ultimately be the most rewarding and important gift I would ever give myself.

I embraced my new student life with the typical, Type-A personality, intensely driven, overachiever gusto that I tend to apply to all the endeavours I attack. Not only would I be a penniless, struggling uni student, but I’d be the very damn best one I could be. In four years, [and through countless assessments and subjects, I only ever received one pass grade: Primary Science 2 in my third year. This was mainly due to me failing my final exam for a range of reasons, including:

a] I was leaving for Europe in two days;

b] I was having rolling, crippling panic attacks; and,

c] Quite frankly, I didn’t really give a crap about the life cycles of plants or the process of mitosis. Forgive me.

Every other grade I got was either a Distinction or a High Distinction. I was never a 'P's get degrees' kinda girl...

Now, I’m not sharing this because I wish to brag – and apologies if that’s what it sounds like – but rather, I’m putting it out there to demonstrate just how much I wanted to succeed at this study gig.

Even in my darkest months, just after my husband did a runner, I still managed to kick ass at uni…because I *had* to. It was the reason I got up in the morning. It gave me something to focus on, to strive for, to desperately cling to like a life preserver when I was drowning in the ocean of pain that was 2011.

Basically, university was what saved me. And I’m so damn glad that it never gave up on me…

The opportunities that opened up for me whilst at university – personally, professionally, emotionally – are staggering, and I would be remiss not to pause here to offer up my deepest and sincerest thanks to everyone who entered and exited my life during this time - you all know who you are. Without you, your time, your love, your support, your patience - and sometimes even your harshest criticism and rejection – my journey would not have been the rollercoaster of discovery it was. Mucho, mucho love + gratitude to every single one of you superstars.

So last Monday, as I crossed that stage to accept my degree, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, pride, and gratitude – for every second, every lesson, every opportunity, every person, every moment. It was all worth it – every damn part – and I’d do it all again, exactly the same way, in a heartbeat.

Today, I’m standing on the precipice of a new monumental journey of my life...

I am a graduate teacher, with a wonderful job offer to teach here on the Gold Coast next year, and the future is glowing brightly with promise, anticipation and opportunity.

I am so excited for what the years ahead will bring; but for now, I am - and forever will be - deeply grateful for the four years I was a penniless, struggling university student.

It sure has made the view from the end all that much sweeter.

ShannyComment