verb /gradyooayt/ 1 successfully complete a degree, course, or (N. Amer.) high school. 2. (graduate to) move up to (something more advanced). 3 arrange or mark out in gradations. 4 change gradually.
Friday 29th May 2009 was the date of my graduation ceremony for my Masters degree. It symbolically marked the end of a journey that took me 5 years to complete, but I did it, against what seemed like insurmountable odds at times. Sitting in the vast hall, shoulder to shoulder with fellow graduates of the Open University in my light blue robe and gold and blue hood I allowed myself to feel proud of my achievement. I had done it. I had gained my MBA and here I was having it bestowed on me.
I posted the definition of graduate at the top of this post and for me three of the definitions are pertinent. My MBA has precipitated great change in my working life with two promotions over the past five years so I have moved up to new challenges equipped with the skills of my course. I have also seen gradual change in myself. I am much less naive than I used to be, both professionally and personally and some of this is due to the opportunities that have opened up because of my studies and some of it is due to personal experiences over the same period that are intrinsically interwoven with my studies, such was the commitment to it over the years.
The ceremony took place at Cheltenham Town Hall, which has a wonderful marble pillared hall with balconies on three sides and a stage at one end. On arrival I collected my robe and had the obligatory photo session and then we set off into town, down the promenade to take my parents to lunch. On the way I spied many other robed students, most in dark blue robes denoting it was their first degree, while a few were also in the light blue which denoted a Masters degree. We found a nice little Italian restaurant and I enjoyed a nice pasta dish that fused Italian pasta with Chinese duck in plum sauce and it was very tasty. Afterwards we took a leisurely stroll back for the ceremony.
The ceremony itself consisted of the usual speeches and presentation of the graduates but the tone was set for an enjoyable afternoon with a band on the balcony that played hits from shows such as Oklahoma. It sounds cheesy, but the tunes were upbeat, the air in the hall was alive with the spirits of people who knew they had earned the right to be there, and with the pride of those that had come to support them. The combination of all these made for a very pleasant afternoon which was rounded off by a glass of sparkling wine. It was a fitting end to five years of blood, sweat and tears and I had a great time.