Over the weekend I was able to tune into some of the convocation ceremonies, and I found them to be inspiring. I watched as students, who overcame many obstacles, triumphantly walk across the stage to accept their parchment. I saw the pride in their eyes and their smiles; pride from the audience as the occasional “hoot” came through the audio, or a “way to go mom!”
One woman who crossed that stage began her journey in 1979. She strode across the stage with her son (I presume) on her arm. I was in awe of this woman who persevered for years to get her degree. She reminded me that this process is about the journey.
The years of hard work were paying off in this triumphant moment. Watching these graduates and following the “#AUGrad15” on twitter increased my already obsessive desire to be there next year. There is a voice in my head which is reminiscent of skilled curlers hollering, “Hurry! Hurry, hard!” I try to allow this voice to motivate me, to prevent me from procrastinating on an assignment, but, now I will also see the woman who started in 1979; I will use that to balance my life with my school and not allow that obsessive voice take over my life. She will remind me to step back and enjoy the process.
Balancing life and school can be challenging. I think this is especially true in a distance education school. A school where we must be self-disciplined if we are going to succeed. Self-discipline is a close cousin to the workaholic. How many adventures and experiences can we pass up on in our journey to our degree before we start to lose a part of ourselves, or make ourselves crazy?
Watching these graduates taught me a few things: First, I want to be there; Second, even if it takes a little extra time it will make it no less sweet a success; And third, Whether I complete my credits just in time for graduation in 2016, or just too late and wait a year to walk that stage, it is a moment that I refuse to pass up.
Having access to watch a livestream of graduates collect their degree is incredible. I think especially for Athabasca University students who do not have that same sense of community as those at a brick and mortar university. Having access to watch these students come together, meeting each other and professors for the first time, to walk as a community with others in their field, reminds me that I am not alone in my pursuit. I am one among many who are striving for this degree, and while sometimes it may feel like I am alone, I am not. I will walk with others who share my passion and collect degrees that we have all worked so hard for, for so many years?one day.
I want to offer a heartfelt congratulations to all those who graduated this year, who worked tirelessly and sacrificed to be able to achieve what you have, for never giving up and for being an inspiration for all of us still chiselling away at our dreams.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature