Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Endings

My graduation from Warwick University 2009Friday was an odd day.

But for once the oddness was a good oddness.

Friday afternoon saw me and my lovely wife attending my graduation ceremony at Warwick University. For those of you that missed it, I achieved a 2:1 Hons degree in English And Cultural Studies, a degree that has taken me about 15 years to achieve (as I took 5 years off half way through).

Before I started the degree (back in '92) I'd already been visiting the University for a couple of years taking various Open Studies courses - so my association with the University has been a long and edifying one.

And I shall miss it.

This didn't really hit me until the ceremony was underway. I must admit I hadn't felt that excited about the ceremony at all. Karen was in far more of a tizz about it than me... but once I was there, once I had my gown and cap on and was seated amongst all the other similarly garbed graduates (or graduands) it finally hit home. I felt both relief that it was all over and sadness that it was all over.

The ceremony was amazing. The University put on quite a lavish affair. We had the University Choiresters and Musicians to entertain us and everything proceeded with a precision that was breathtaking. The University has been doing this sort of thing for 50 years so it should be well used to it by now I guess.

I remember very little about going up to collect my certificate - it all happened very fast - a good shove from a steward (given to all the students) sent me on my way and then it was a brief blur of lights, faces, handshakes, the certificate in my hand and then a dazed walk back to my seat.

I felt very flushed and very proud.

And discovered a burning desire to do an MA.

However, this will have to wait for at least 3 years. We just can't afford it right now. Maybe once Tom has started school things will be easier financially... until then my academic dreams are placed on hold.

Talking of finances though... the other bit of news I had on Friday was that finally finally the money from my aunt's estate has been paid out. I should be receiving a cheque early next week.

I'm not going to be crass and say how much - suffice it to say it's enough to pay off our debts (barring the mortgage), purchase a desperately needed garden fence, a new fridge freezer as our old one is on its last legs and maybe a little treat for the kids. The rest we shall save - a nice little nest egg that, God willing, will see us through the next three years of these uncertain times. We're still experiencing a financial shortfall so this safety net is invaluable. Hopefully, by being frugal, we shall still have a good portion of this windfall left when the good times begin to roll in again.

I hope so anyway.

At the moment it's just nice to have all the anxiety and worry brought to an end.

I feel like I can breathe again.

(Photography courtesy of Karen.)


43 comments:

KayDee said...

You should be rightfully proud of your achievements and well done for sticking with it. I'm sure you will miss it but like you said, you can always go back when finances allow.

skatey katie said...

ab. so. lute. ly. BRILLIANT news all around, steve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(worth every one of those forty exclamation marks).

something funny, one of our lecturers got us to sing along to Gaudeamus Igitur (glad i googled that, i switcheroo'd an a for an i. egads.) TWICE so that we won't need to mumble it next march when we graduate.
WHEN.
i feel like the little engine that could.....

still very excited for you all X

Steve said...

KayDee and Katie: thank you - hopefully a photo should now be published with the post too!

A Write Blog said...

Good stuff.

I'm pleased for you.

Maybe those driving lessons might be a little more accessible.

Steve said...

AWB: not for a while yet I'm afraid. I either need to win the lottery or acquire a job that pays a hell of a lot more than the one I've got now.

Tristan said...

Good news all round, Steve - I'm really happy for you and the family! At your present rate, the MA should keep you intellectually engaged up to retirement, at the very least!

Steve said...

Tris: I know. I may have to undertake my professorship from beyond the grave...!

The Dotterel said...

Fantastic! A proud moment, justly so. (Make sure you use those letters after your name as often as possible!)

Steve said...

Dotterel: next time I'm scooping up poop or dealing with a toilet complaint I shall remind myself that I am a Bachelor of Arts!

Owen said...

Oh Joyous Day !!!!!!!

A Degree and some cash !!!

Sincere congratulations !!!

I recall hearing once while at school in the US, where some people followed programs leading to a Bachelor of Science, then a Master of Science, and some even a PhD... some wag had said that BS, MS, and PhD were acronyms for :
Bull Shit
More Shit
Piled Higher and Deeper

Well, with an arts degree you are not concerned by that, and once again, congrats, you can be truly proud to have worked your way through all those years of courses!!! And hopefully one day your qualifications may open doors for you. BRAVO !!!!

Hip Hip HOOORRAAAYYYYYY !!!

Steve said...

Owen: your bounteous ebullience has made me smile - thank you!

KayDee said...

I've just seen the photo...you look suitably intelligent and downright professorish.

Steve said...

KayDee: damn! My tailor assured me it was definitely "roguish bit of rough". I shall sack him immediately! ;-)

Tenon_Saw said...

May I add my hearty congratulations to the collection accumulating here. I am a tad jealous though; I didn't get a mortar board at my graduation!

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: although I didn't get to keep it, it was definitely worth the £40 hire fee!

Clippy Mat said...

wow, what a great day. Congrats on your degree and great to hear about the windfall especially as you are wise enough to put it to good use.
Great to hear good news.
:-)

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: thank you - it's nice to be able to deliver some good news!

KAZ said...

Congratulations!
You don't half look smug.
R.A. Butler presented me with my degree. I'd never heard of him.

Steve said...

Kaz: on Friday I did smug like a professional. And very nice it was too.

Suburbia said...

Congratulations!!!
(my ceremony made me want to do an MA too!)

Great that you have that safety net financially, takes the pressure off huh?

So pleased for you :)

The Sagittarian said...

Sir Steve BA, congratulations mate and all well deserved! Good that the nest egg has arrived too. I shall have a drink of champagne to help you celebrate, hangover by proxy!

missbehaving said...

Congratulations, graduations and windfalls, I like it, the Universe is being good to you now, hopefully turds will soon become a thing of the past.
Glad you and your wife could enjoy a day of pomp and that you have a little financial slack. The stress of no money is the worst part, no money is just no money, it's the worry and sleeplessness that'll do you in.
Hope this is all the beginning of a change of fortunes for you.

Steve said...

Suburbia: thank you - given the time and the money I'd quite happily go on and on at Uni. However, one needs to be realistic. Nothing for me now until Tom is at school - and then I shall review my opportunities!

Amanda: make it a big one - and thank you. Hope you've got the alka-seltzer lined up ready!

Missbehaving: I hope so too. I'm a great believer in money attracting money... so I may have to go out and buy a lottery ticket once the cheque arrives. You never know...! ;-)

Daisy said...

congrats my friend! happy to see this achievement for you...i know my own was long in the coming as i took time out to raise my son...and it makes it all the sweeter in the end...ENJOY

Steve said...

Daisy: thank you - it's definitely been worth every minute of the long, hard slog!

Selina Kingston said...

I know that feeling of relief at being able to brathe again. Well done you. And you look most academic in your graduation gear. Congratulations !

French Fancy said...

Yes I am late as usual, but it does not mean that my heart did not fill with pride at the picture of a blogger friend receiving the diploma for which he has worked like a trojan, not to mention all his other duties as a busy husband, dad and employee.

Steve - the cap and gown really suit you and I know just what it means. I am also very happy for you that the money worries can at last be sorted out.

This is a turning point now and I feel your joy.

French Fancy said...

P.S. -I've just read your post again - more slowly - and saw the MA leap out at me. Yes, that is also what I wish to do once I get the BA - in about 3 years - .Go us!

Steve said...

Selina: thank you muchly - it feels like a huge weight has been lifted.

FF: aw, thank you - I did think of you when I wrote this post I must admit. Warwick do a superb MA in Creative Writing and should I get the chance that is what I shall take. As you say: go us! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've just chanced upon your blog - congratulations on your graduation! I also graduated earlier this year and can identify with your initial lack of excitement. I almost didn't even bother with the ceremony; being a more 'mature' student I actually thought I'd feel a bit silly. But once I saw hundreds of others donned in gowns etc, wow! Something quite amazing happened. I was quite overcome walking into the auditorium, feeling the sense of history and occasion. I am SO glad I didn't miss the ceremony! And yes, like you, i can relate to the sense of loss when the study is over..... at the graduation you only remember the sense of achievement, the intellectual stimulation etc, not the late nights, sense of panic, overwhelming workload...... funny how selective our memories can be! Anyway, congratulations! :)

Steve said...

Anonymous: thank you - you've summed things up nicely. The graduation ceremony was amazing - well worth the effort of getting dressed up and going - and in a way you need it to say a proper goodbye to your university life. I beleive the expression is "closure". :-)

Annie said...

Steve you look fantastic! Heartfelt congratulations to you.
You're an inspiration honestly - wish I'd got the brains to do it :)

skatey katie said...

oh yes, i SEE you!
love the dress ups X

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Hurrah and double hurrah!

So richly deserved Steve! Sorry I have only just caught the news now.

You never know, you might be too busy being successful after the first one to have time to consider an MA in 3 years!

I am SO, SO pleased for you though - the next best thing to it happening to me!

Steve said...

Annie: brains were the least of it. Energy and money were far harder to find! ;-)

Katie: I really don't like wearing a suit. I think it probably shows!

Laura: it would be lovely to think I was far too busy publishing bestsellers to have time for an MA... in fact I'm going to hold that dream in my head for the rest of the day. Thank you!

justme said...

CONGRATULATIONS! On the degree, and on the cheque which is about to arrive.
Great picture!

Steve said...

Justme: thank you! :-)

Flaming Nora said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! Really well done! As another who graduated at an, er, mature age I can appreciate how much it all means. Well done!

Steve said...

Nora: thank you - I do feel very chuffed I must admit!

Sky Clearbrook said...

Many congratulations!

Steve said...

Mr Clearbrook: thank you, good sir!

Marie said...

Just wanted to congratulate you again! I'm a bit behind with my blog reading of late and have only just seen this vision of you looking proud as punch. And so you should be. It sounds like you've worked incredibly hard to achieve it. Well done you!

Steve said...

Marie: thank you so much!