This is a cross-post from my blog about my experience with The Open University: Open All Hours.
So that’s it. I’ve done it. All done and dusted. The end of an era!
Despite finishing my degree last year, I only graduated this past Saturday (November 23rd) because of when the graduation ceremonies were. I wasn’t that bothered about going but boy, am I glad I did!
It was held at Symphony Hall in Birmingham at 3. We got there at around 1 and registered, and then went to get robed. It all went very smoothly and everyone working there had an air of excitement around them. We were given programmes that detailed the top dogs at the OU and also had the degrees and classifications printed of everyone who was graduating, which has made a lovely keepsake.
My parents didn’t pay for photos as they knew I wouldn’t like them so I got my dad to take a few of me. I’m not a huge fan of most of them but then again I wouldn’t be a girl if I weren’t happy with 95% of photos taken of me!
The ceremony itself was pretty emotional! There were two people there who were picking degrees up on behalf of people who had died which was very moving. There were also a lot of disabled people graduating which really demonstrates how invaluable the OU is to people with a disability.
When I walked across that stage I was so worried I would trip over and make a fool of myself! My dad filmed it and I walked across the stage much faster than I thought I did. When I got to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Professor Musa Mihsein), he shook my hand, said, “Well done Nicola, congratulations” and handed me an envelope. The envelope held a little card with a message on that basically says well done for graduating.
When the ceremony was over I took a few more photos with my parents (and my mom will kill me if she knew I’d put one of her on here, so shhh!) and then I went for a much needed drink at the bar you can see above.
It’s weird to think it’s all over now. Even though my degree was done and dusted over 12 months ago, I’ve been waiting for this day. And now it’s over! I studied with the OU for four years (after I transferred my first year credits over from the University of Kent) so it’s a longer relationship than most people have with their alma maters.
And it was bloody hard work. I’m smart and I got a 2:2, which I have to say I wasn’t expecting! The OU is not an easy ride, by any means. The grade boundaries are higher and the motivation you need to work at home, by yourself, with no lectures, is a feat that I never thought I would accomplish.
I don’t finish things very often. I’m renowned for getting bored with things halfway through, so for me to finish a degree and actually graduate means more than many will ever know. I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of my parents for putting up with the moaning and for supporting me (both emotionally and financially!), and I’m proud of this country for having such an institution: one where the only barriers to learning are your own mind.
And with that, dear readers, I bid you adieu. This signals the end of this blog and the end of my (very long, meandering) journey.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on the OU or studying in general; either leave me a comment on here or over at my other blog which I still write in.