October 29, 2013

WEARING THE CAP AND GOWN ON THE LAWN OF UNE

When we decided to move from the city to the country, it seemed the perfect time to re-enroll in university, and study for a Graduate Diploma of Education and turn my Bachelor of Fine Arts into a teaching asset. One of the fantastic things about regional areas is that often the need proceeds the qualification, so after my first semester of study, last year, I had already begun to teach casually in one of our local schools.
On Saturday it all became official as I sat under a tree on the main lawn of the University of New England, beside many others in our billowing gowns and rigid hats as we awaited our turn to ascend the stage, and receive our awards.

Memories of award presentations at school returned quickly to my mind, as I worried about stumbling on the stage, or shaking hands incorrectly, or what I would say to the Chancellor, as he placed the award in my warm and nervous hands. Thankfully each element went smoothly, and I even remembered to tap my cap towards the Chancellor as my name was spoken, with a smile and a nod, before I received my award.

Last time I finished university, I didn't attend the ceremony, so it was an extra special treat to have our families meet us at the Armidale campus which is almost right in the middle of the distance between us all.

As we sat on the lawn afterwards eating our freshly toasted sandwiches, I lay my degree on the ground, while presented in plastic, the top piece of paper stuck out a little bit. Taking advantage of this slight vulnerability, a bird took the liberty of pooing on that bit of the paper, which lead into a joyful afternoon of every joke you could conceive about a bird pooing over my university degree.
Thankfully the university has agreed to replace it, so that memory won't be framed with the award.

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