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Graduation 2014

Graduation is always a special day and this year was no exception. Here’s our review of the big day…

What a day! Last week, Wednesday 16 July, we joined our students on the University of Essex Colchester Campus for our 2014 graduation ceremony. The campus was buzzing with students from 8am and at 10am we filed into the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall to watch this year’s graduands collect their awards. Our ceremony was shared with the University’s psychology department and the building was brimming with excited graduands and their proud family members.

Our online graduands each had a moment in the limelight as they took to front of the hall to collect their awards. Despite that fact that most of our students had never met before this day, everyone cheered loudly as their peers took to the stage. Parents whooped, children clapped, grandmothers cried and we applauded our students proudly, knowing the journeys they have been on to reach this milestone.

Graduation is always a special day and this year was no exception. Studying part-time is a big commitment and our students work outstandingly hard to juggle the demands of studying with everyday life. Distance learning enables adults, parents, carers, service personnel, working professionals and many others access to an education they thought they had missed out on. That’s why graduation is even more poignant for our distance learning students.

After the graduation ceremony, our students and their guests headed to the marquee by the University Lake for a drinks reception. The morning is always a bit of a rush as students have to find the campus, register and collect their gowns; the reception is much more relaxed. The formalities were out of the way and now students could mingle, grab photos together, trade tales of their study experience and catch-up with tutors and support staff that had such an impact on their lives.

I spoke to many students at the reception and this is when it really hits home how life changing achieving a degree can be. For some it has resulted in a promotion, pay-rise or a chance to pursue a new a career. But not everyone’s motivations were job related – I spoke to a mother who beamed that her degree had given her new confidence and a mature student who had always dreamed of achieving a degree but thought that he had ‘missed the boat’. This year’s graduates show the power and possibilities of achieving a degree online. Congratulations to the class of 2014. We’re very proud of you!

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