Monday, 13 October 2014

Graduation Day with the Open University.

As some of you know I finished my last module for my Art History degree with the Open University this spring. I started way back in 2006 not really knowing what I wanted to study but certain I wanted to work towards a degree.  My first module, an introductory one, covered lots of different subjects including History, Literature, Classical Studies and Art History.  The module was really interesting and to my surprise I really enjoyed the Art History sections and I decided that was what I would focus my degree on.

Looking back an awful lot has happened during my time as an Open University student. We have moved house twice, Fizz became part of our family, there have been big changes for both myself and Mr D at work, my Grandma passed away after a long illness, I've gained new friends and learnt new skills.  Through it all my focus on gaining a degree with the Open University has been unwavering despite the stress and hard work involved.  I have studied such a wide range of topics from Renaissance art to 20th Century art and written dissertations on two completely different themes (cadaver tombs in England and 20th Century public sculpture!).  I was also lucky enough to attend Queen Mary's University, London for a weeks residential module - shattering but absolutely brilliant.

My final module finished in March this year with an exam in a very wet Nottingham.  After the exam I felt a mixture of relief that (results pending) this was my degree finished and fear in case I had messed up!  I need not have worried, I passed and was awarded a 2.1 BA (Hons) in Humanities with Art History at the end of April.  

Open University Graduation Manchester 2014




















I graduated last Friday at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.  While I have had several months to come to terms with being awarded my degree it hadn't really sunk in that after all those years I have finished! I still expect the next module's books to land on my doorstep and to feel the excitement of starting a new module.  So arriving in Manchester with Mr D and donning my robes was all a bit odd!  I'm also the first in my family to get a degree so my parents, when they arrived at the hall, were a little bit shocked by the whole thing despite my efforts to prepare them! 

video


Video clip of the academic procession


open University manchester 2014 graduation ceremonySitting waiting for the ceremony to start with fellow graduates it finally started to sink in that this was it.... I had done what I had set out to achieve back in 2006!  As the ceremony started there were a lot of us in tears as it brought home what we had achieved.  Recognition was also given to the support provided by close family and friends which set us all off in tears again!  I'm pleased to report that, despite the emotions, I didn't fall up the steps when it was my turn to be presented on stage but there were more tears at the end when all of us stood and were applauded for our achievements. It was such a proud moment standing there seeing my Mum, Dad and Mr D clapping and waving away.  And then it was over as we all walked out behind the Open University mace, the pro-chancellor and academic staff. 

Open university graduation 2014 manchester me and FizzIt was then Fizz's moment of glory with her Mum!  She has had to put up with me huffing and puffing, talking to myself and the odd tear while I have been working through my modules, assignments and revision notes! As you can see she was completely overcome with emotion yawning away! That pretty much ends the day - I was physically and emotionally exhausted and just about managed to eat some pizza and have a glass of wine on the way home!! 

my mum with my graduation cakeOn Saturday I had a party with family and friends which was great. My Mum and Dad had arranged a surprise graduation cake including an egg free one! Sunday was spent recovering! It still feels odd having finished my degree as working towards it has been such a massive part of my life for the last 8 years.  Whether it was actively working on a module or enjoying a summer break before the next one started.  I will never me able to thank my different tutors in person so I just want to say here THANK YOU to everyone who has had a part large or small in my degree.  Its time to start planning the next chapter in my life! 


18 comments:

  1. Congratulations! That is such a huge achievement!!

    And I love the picture of you with the gruffalo ;D

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    1. Thank you! Mr D couldn't resist getting a snap of me giving it a kiss!

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  2. So proud of you Isla, your hard work, determination :) I love the pics especially the Gruffalo one love Mel xxx

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    1. Thank you Mel. It's not often I allow Mr D full control of the camera but Friday was an exception! He did good.

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  3. Congratulations, I can't imagine how much determination it took to achieve this goal. Studying for a degree when that is all you are doing is hard, but to do it alongside other work or family commitments must be staggeringly difficult. Well done!

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    1. Thank you! There are so many ups and downs it's great when you get a good mark on an assignment and that keeps you going but when you come across something which makes no sense (20th C art springs to mind!) then it's certainly a case of digging deep and getting through the best you can.

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  4. Congratulations, what a huge milestone. I've done distance learning degree myself and understand how much work it is. It can be all consuming and very strange once it's over. I hope you enjoy your new found free time and perhaps fit a bit of knitting in there!

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    1. Thank you Joanne. It's does take over at times especially when assignments are lurking close by! Once I had learnt to knit that was my reward during the summer breaks! I would save a really nice project and would luck forward to it.

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  5. Well Done! Congratulations! What a huge achievement. I have studied with OU in the past and it is very hard work, and very time consuming, but very satisfying too. What are you going to do with all that extra time you will suddenly have in your week now? X

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    1. Thank you Penny. What did you study? Apart from extra knitting time I have a few potential secret ideas which would certainly fill the time!

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  6. That's fantastic Isla, many congratulations! You must feel very proud and rightly so! xx

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    1. Thank you Alison. Every time I see a photo of the day I smile to myself.

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  7. Well done! I too know about studying as a 'mature' student - I was at uni straight after school but went back and did a second undergrad degree later - it's much harder when you have a job and adult responsibilties to work around than when you can focus on being a student, making your achievement all the more impressive.

    Faced, like you, with the gap no studying left I carried on ... I ended up doing a PhD, although sadly I've had to give up on that now. Who knows, maybe you'll take a similar path in time :)

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    1. Thank you Annie. Not sure about a PhD...... I keep thinking I might do a Masters but it is so expensive these days. Especially as it's purely for my own interest and self development. I'm glad I've been a mature student, I'm much more motivated then I was in my late teens. I sure the student bar would have got in my way at uni!

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  8. Congratulations Isla on a wonderful achievement!

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    1. Thank you Rachel! I can't belive it was last Friday the week has flown by!

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  9. ah! I thought I had commented on this post already!

    WELL DONE! Huge congrats to you!

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    1. Hi Louise thats ok. Thank you anyway!

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