I finally graduated. It's not finally, really. The course I did only took 3 years so it wasn't that bad, but I was really pleased to have finished.
I had a fun night. I met up with some of my fellow students - people I'd studied and worked with over the last three years and was pleased to see again. It was great to catch up and find out what everyone was doing and planning.
Mum, David and Lauren came to see me graduate. I saw them as soon as they entered the hall. They looked like the three bears - a little one (Mum), a middle sized one (Lauren) and a big one (David) - all in order moving along to their seats. It took them a little while to find me in the crowd of similarly dressed graduates but they did and all waved.
It was all a new experience for me. I didn't go to graduation for my undergrad degree so didn't really know what to expect. What did amaze me was the number of graduates who didn't know how to greet the Chancellor or accept their award without fumbling. Every one of them has graduated at least high school so they've had one experience of it for sure. Others have graduated a number of times or received other awards on stage. So everyone should have known to pause as they doffed their cap and to shake with their right hand while they accepted the award with their left, but no. People rushed out, didn't pause, almost tripped over their own feet and tried to shake hands and accept the award with the same hand at the same time. Maybe they just needed practice or time to think about it beforehand.
I was lucky enough to be about half way through the program so had time to watch the first group and decide what looked good and what didn't. I knew what I wanted to do once I got out onto the stage.
One fellow received a medal for excellence. His GPA (Grade point average) was 6.8 (out of a possible 7) and he received 7s throughout his last year. And he did a double degree. I really admire brains like that - and was even more impressed when they described the research he'd been doing for the honours component of his degree. What an achievement!
My sister asked me why I didn't get a medal or at least a scholarship and I had to remind her I studied part time and because of that I wasn't elligible. So my very respectable 6.5 GPA was pretty much useless in that regard.
I really enjoyed listening to the summaries of the PhD awards. Some of the research that goes on is incredible. Once they're published I'll have to find a copy of some of them and read them.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the degree. Of course I'd like to work in the field - library management - but I don't have any experience. I have mortgages so I have to keep working and have to have a certain level of income. Neither of those things work with my lack of experience in libraries unfortunately and although I know I'd be able to do the work easily (I'm bright and adaptable), proving it to strangers is a bit of a problem.I'm still teaching part time. The idea behind that was so I could use my one day off a week to do some volunteer work in a library and get some experience. Unfortunately my one day each week has translated into bits and pieces; an hour here, an hour there which makes it pretty much useless.
Study-wise, my next step is two-fold. I've already applied to start a Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries (Creative Writing) starting in July. I'm looking forward to that and hope I can do the subjects I'm interested in. I've also made some preliminary lists of things to do to apply to begin my PhD in February next year. I know what I want to do but haven't narrowed the thesis topic enough to make it achievable. That's the task for this semester - I just have to find a weekend free so I can spend a day at the library doing research. After that I have to start talking to people and find someone to sponsor me. That won't be easy either as my undergrad and masters degrees are both in totally different fields so I'll have to convince strangers, people who know nothing of my abilities, that I'm capable of doing the work in the creative industries field to a suitable standard. That's part of the reason I've applied to do the grad cert.