That G-RAD-uation Feeling!

RESULTS ARE OUT!  Congratulations to everyone who will be graduating in September.  It’s a rewarding moment, receiving THAT email after years of slaving away behind a keyboard.  After enjoying the immediate obligatory celebrations, there’s a bit of a gap before your graduation ceremony.  I remember a friend asking me “why bother going to your graduation ceremony, isn’t it pointless if you can just get your degree mailed to you.”

Here’s why…

Firstly, you get to wear an awesome hat and gown.  You know, the ones you always see in those American college films and they toss their hat in the air and by some miracle all catch their own respective hats.  Now is a good time to mention you’re technically not allowed to throw the hats now.  Did I mention the gowns are basically Hogwarts robes?

ProTip:  Take a wand to graduation and duel members of other faculties for maximum enjoyment.

tom graduation

Another part worth going for is the chance to be snapped by the local paper.  Personally, I love every bit of limelight I can crawl my way into, so with local newspaper photographers doing the rounds, there was ample opportunity.

ProTip:  Being friends with the valedictorian goes a long way to increasing your photo chances.

I did worry that the ceremony itself was going to be a bit of drag, much like the old-school assemblies.  However, on the day, you feel an emotional investment with each part of the proceedings.  From marching through the middle of town, to the keynote speeches, and even the individual presentation of awards to each student.  Standing in the wings waiting for my turn to receive my award was the best part.  Watching each student before me push their chest out, lift their head and stride across the stage, you know that they are feeling the same pride that you are.  It was at this moment I realised what I was about to be awarded wasn’t just a piece of paper.

Achievement unlocked graduation

What you receive during that fleeting moment on stage is ultimate satisfaction.  Each all-nighter pulled, each early morning lecture, each overdue library book fine, each social event neglected all culminated into an abundance of achievement and self-gratification.  That’s a feeling I could never recreate opening my degree in the mail.

I’ve since had my degree framed and it is something I am proud to hang on display for everyone to see.  There’s no better feeling than graduating uni, and I’d love to do a postgraduate degree just to do it again.

tom graduate

Until next time,

Tom

What is your long-term goal?

I have one exam and one assignment to go. That is it. In one week, I will have finished my four year degree.

I was asked recently, ‘what is your long-term goal?’. For once in my life, I was actually speechless.

My ‘long-term’ (at least it had seemed long term) goal had consisted of working hard at uni, achieving the best GPA possible, finishing my degree and then passionately teaching maths and/ or art to high school kids somewhere.

However, when I was asked the question recently, I realised that the once seemingly massive task of completing my degree was almost complete. I had focused so much energy into doing well in exams, assignments, pracs and internships that somewhere along the way, I forgot that this was all leading somewhere.

I began thinking back to the reasons I began the degree in the first place. There are many reasons, but a few pivotal moments stand out.

When I was in middle primary school, I was truly over-excited about learning. I would come home, quickly open my homework sheet, complete it, parade around with it in front of my parents and then set about creating a ‘homework’ sheet for my younger sister to complete. I loved teaching her new things. Though I had waited a few years after high school to begin formal study, I think that becoming a teacher was predetermined.

This passion for teaching and sharing what I knew continued throughout my life. It was then extended through travel, where I realised my passion for teaching overseas as well as helping those who are less fortunate.

The passion still exists. The degree has almost been attained. So, where do I see myself in 2, 5, 10, 20 years? What will be in store for the Rickard’s, long-term?

I think the answer here is teaching internationally and participating in long-term volunteer/ charity projects within the country. Ideally, of course.

How has USQ assisted with this? I have attained (almost) an internationally recognised degree from a university which is highly regarded throughout the world for its Education program. It is because of USQ’s connections with partner-schools around the world that I was given the opportunity to teach in Thailand, as one of my pracs. I have been given great guidance from lecturers, have met a wonderful bunch of like-minded friends and have found my inner-confidence.

The journey has been challenging. This is felt most during exam block, the current time of this semester. However, I think it is important to be reminded that this is a road which is leading somewhere – to a realisation of your hopes and dreams, the achievement of a goal in which you have chosen.

For me, it is with an excited heart that I reveal the new chapter in which I am about to begin, thanks to my journey here…

I have secured a mathematics teaching position in Bangkok, Thailand!

Thank you for sharing the latter part of my journey with me through my blogs. All the best.