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It’s the obligatory graduation post! October 6, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Degrees, Graduation, OU, Uncategorized.

So graduation day finally rolled around on Friday after a stressful couple of days preparation – making sure we all had smart clothes to wear, making sure everything was printed out that I’d need on the day, sorting out the train tickets, calling the train station to arrange for the ramp/assistance to get on the train, and generally just having panic attacks about public transport. After all, it was my first trip on a train since being in the wheelchair, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Having said that, I’d do a train journey again. The people at both stations were fabulous, which made my fears about travelling disappear.

Arriving at Bridgewater Hall was so exciting! There were people milling around in their gowns, their proud friends and families strutting like peacocks behind them (Kirst and me graduationor looking like they were going to get up to some mischief). Getting into the hall, we careened through the tide of graduates towards the gowning area. Collecting my gown, I was ushered through to a lady who helped with robing and bobby-pinning the hood to the gown – and my hair! Youch! Mummy and Niamhie graduationBut my little Princi Munchkin was very proud of me, once I was all ceremonially-garbed up. Feeling more and more like a graduate, I realised that I had forgotten to book in at the registration tables. I must’ve pulled the crazy ‘aaaarrrrgggghhh’ face in my desperation to locate the tables, but thankfully I quickly spied where they were and navigated Dad, my designated driver, towards them. Good job too, because it was here I received my seating tickets, introduction card and complimentary drinks tickets.

Then I arrived at the most important part of the day – finally meeting my friend Ali squared graduation 1Nexie, my online study buddy and crazy conversationalist partner for the last five years. I think I nearly ruined my make-up, I got so teary-eyed! I have to say, going across the stage for the degree conferment was amazing, but meeting Nex made my day. Distance learning can be so isolating, so it made it that much more special to have someone there who had shared the experience with you. We both understood how much we had put into our studies, the outside struggles and stresses we had endured throughout the time we were studying, and the good times, devastations, and late-night panic sessions around TMA and results time. I just wish I had been able to see her cross the stage for her presentation, but I was waiting backstage after taking a roller-coaster tour of the building after my own presentation (all the wheelchair accessible ramps are backstage). I did clap as loud I as could, though!

All in all, graduation day was brilliant! I am glad that Nex and my cousin K spent hours talking me into going, and that I was able to share the day with both of them. I was also glad that Princi’s school allowed her the afternoon off school so she could be with me too – despite her antics ruining a lot of photos, as she held leaves or rabbit-ear fingers above my head! crown of leaves graduationleaf face graduation But the biggest, serendipitous giggle happened during the outdoor photographs at the end of the ceremony with the arrival of this van. It was just perfect after being awarded with a First-class Honours degree (please excuse the badly cropped together image!): Smart Alex