I’m sure my parents were proud when I graduated, and we had a good day, but I had been a pain for 4 years … grumbling my way through a degree I wasn’t sure was ‘for me’ until I shuffled across the stage self-consciously with my peers… the vast majority of us 22.
A few weekends ago I was in an audience who whooped and cheered and stood for the most beautifully eclectic mix of graduates you could meet.
In case you’re clueless like I used to be, the Open University is an actual, brilliant educational institution. My brother-in-law was the first person I knew to study with them and I thought “A PGCE with the Open University?? Really? Who’s going to employ you with THAT?” … one of the best grammar schools in the country, as it turns out. An OU degree is not, in fact, a flaky, print-it-yourself one, and I’m not sure why I imagined it was.
And so, as I have previously gushed about here , my husband went on to complete his degree recently through the OU. The online-support and boxes of course-materials that arrive through your front door made it possible for him to study while working full-time and starting a family. It was mental, and hard. They said at his graduation that the only thing worse that being an OU student is living with one… I’m not going to argue with that!
I finished University with a degree, wander-lust and a bit of a crappy attitude. Chris finished with a degree, a lot of experience on the job, and 2 wild-haired daughters. He grinned like every other graduate in the room as he walked across the stage. They were EVERY age, and each one of them a story, I am sure. Mums in gowns were in the toilets with their daughters in party dresses, a Dad sat cross-legged on the floor with his young family eating strawberries and cream, a middle-aged husband and wife crossed the stage one after the other, there were as many children and grandchildren in the audience as there were parents.
It was moving and fun and celebratory. There aren’t many occasions these days when Chris wears a tie and I get my hair blow-dried, but this one was totally worth it. Learn and Live.