Making It Real

Taking the Final Steps toward Graduation

Completing my AU degree suddenly got real this month.  Over the winter I began work on my final four courses.  In February, I wrote two final exams which completed two of those courses.  Once those course grades were posted, I decided to submit my Application to Graduate.

I could have completed the Application to Graduate months ago when I enrolled in my final courses.  I decided to wait until the new year.  When the new year came I decided to wait until I only had two courses left to complete.  Since I was required to list my remaining in-progress courses, it made sense to wait until there were fewer to list.

Submitting the Application to Graduate only took a few minutes.  After I clicked “submit”, I paused for a moment to let it sink in.  After more than five years of working toward my Bachelor of General Studies degree, graduation now feels like a tangible reality.  In only a few weeks, I’ll complete the final two courses.  In less than three months, I’ll be visiting Athabasca University—for the first time—for convocation.

Final acts are tumbling one after another now.  The final exam request submitted.  The final essay drafted.  The final parcel of borrowed books mailed back to the AU library.  Some of these final acts drift by unnoticed in the press to finish.  Later, when I notice these acts receding in the rear-view mirror, it hits me that each of these moments is pushing me closer to the finish line.

With only one exam and a few assignments left to complete, I’m beginning to anticipate waking up one morning and not having schoolwork to do.  I’ve almost forgotten what that’s like.  What did I used to do when I wasn’t doing this?

The temptation arises to take just one more course—just to keep the familiar routine going.  There are still so many subject areas to explore.  Wouldn’t it be nice to take a course just for fun?  I remind myself that I vowed not to commit to any course of action—or even think about committing—until I’ve completely finished my degree.

Even with my degree completed, I don’t plan to stop learning.  I’ve been a life-long learner and I derive satisfaction from pursuing new educational goals.  There will be more courses in my future and more educational mileposts to achieve.

For now, though, savouring the final steps to the finish line of this goal is my priority.  Clicking “submit” on my Application to Graduate was just one of the many final steps on the way to graduation.  The only difference is that this step suddenly made it seem real.

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