Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tomorrow My Sister Graduates From University

Tomorrow my sister graduates from University.  We are going to be with her on this very special day.


She was asked to write an essay about what graduation meant to her.  This is what she wrote.

Graduation is a magic word
"Graduation is a magic word. This June at the age of sixty-five I am finally completing my lifelong dream. I am graduating from University with a Bachelor of Arts. I graduated from Grade 12 when I was sixteen and immediately entered the working world. There were six children in the family – my parents couldn’t afford to give even one of us a higher education. Over the years I have often wanted to return to school and get a university degree. I knew that I could hold my own in most conversations, write a good report, read at a high level, answer the Jeopardy questions and win most of the time at Trivial Pursuit, but I wanted that elusive piece of paper that said I was educated.

Most people told me I was foolish, that I didn’t need it. But for almost fifty years it has niggled at the back of my mind. When I had the chance to return to school, I chose College as the less expensive and shorter alternative that could help me find a new career path. I was fifty at the time and I had a son to support so taking at least three years out of the work force and going deeply in debt seemed a huge barrier to going to University. I didn’t realize that it still was an ambition of mine until my younger sister earned her B.A. in her forties taking courses part-time. After I turned sixty I discovered that Laurentian would let me take my university degree from home while I worked and give me a reduction in tuition fee because of my age. They also gave me credits towards my degree for the college diplomas that I had earned.

Now I was in my glory. I investigated programs that intrigued me. I took courses in music, anthropology, classical studies, philosophy and psychology. I had professors tell me that I saw things from a different point of view. I finally settled on religious studies, not as a step towards the ministry but as a way to broaden my mind and learn more about people and the current pluralism in religion. I took courses in nature based religions, eastern religions, the Old and New Testament, new wave religion and the paranormal. My journey wasn’t always smooth. I switched jobs and got so far behind that I failed two courses. Old age kicked in and I went to an exam two days late and failed the course. All I could do was pick myself up and start over. I paced myself and set a plan of action to make sure I stayed on track and completed all the assignments on time. I worked on getting myself off academic probation and closer to my degree.

Now as I write this note, I know that I am only four assignments and two exams from my goal. I will succeed and I will graduate this spring. I am old enough to be the grandmother of many in my graduating class but I feel young again and I am looking forward to that day and I am so proud of myself. This will be a day I hold in my heart for the rest of my life."

We are going to take lots of pictures.


1 comment:

Michele Bilyeu said...

Wow...totally awesome. Lovely words from a lovely woman filled with meaning and advice for us, all! Thank you for sharing heart touching moment for today!