From Graduand to Graduate

Graduand: 1. One about to graduate.   2. A candidate for a degree.

Graduate: 1. A holder of an academic degree.

Celebrate: to observe a day or event with ceremonies of respect, festivity and rejoicing.

After 5 years of full-time study, including 3 years at Deakin University, I finally got my opportunity to dress up and wear the traditional cap and gown!

When I arrived at Deakin University’s Costa Hall yesterday morning I have to admit that I wasn’t feeling very excited about the actual graduation ‘event’. University lectures and exams finished well over 6 months ago, I’ve been working for the past 3 months and my time at University seems like a distant memory. I probably wouldn’t have bothered attending the graduation ceremony except that I’m a sucker for getting dressed up and having photo opportunities, oh, and there was no way Tim was going to allow me to miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience! After all, it’s not every day you get to go from being a Graduand to a Graduate!

So I donned my navy blue gown and hood (peacock green regalia colours for nurses) and positioned the trencher on my head with the tassle dangling to the left, just near my eye, as we were taught, and I prepared myself for the moment I would walk across the stage to receive my degree from the Chancellor of the University. The sense of excitement and anticipation began to build. This actually was a special moment. And what made it even more special is that my amazing husband surprised me by inviting along my friend Johanna who has shared so many of my major life experiences with me.

As I stood side stage, awaiting my name to be called, I have to say that nothing in my life so far has prepared me for how I felt!! Apart from worrying that I might forget to ‘doff’ my head and touch my trencher at the appropriate times (once after my name was called and then again half way across the stage before I got to the Chancellor), my heart was racing with an emotion I’ve never felt before. Was it Pride? Elation? Satisfaction? A sense of achievement and accomplishment? Was it Joy? Whatever the emotion was, it doesn’t matter. I did it. I made it. I finished something I started. I succeeded. I set out to do something and I did it. I gained a University degree.

Now it’s over. I have a Bachelor of Nursing degree, a memory of a very special day and a photo to prove it! Now my Dad can hang my graduation day photo beside the one of my brother. Sorry it’s taken 25 years Dad but I’ve finally graduated!

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