On Monday 21st July 2014 I graduated from the University of Portsmouth with an MSc in Sports and Exercise Psychology.
It was my third graduation, the first for my FdSc I attended alone, the second for my BSc my partner and my mother and stepfather attended, this time I had both my partner, both my parents, and my children. It was a course I undertook during my divorce and my ex-wife’s subsequent attempts to take me to court, all making it a hard task, which I achieved and wanted to celebrate.
My eldest son knew it was to be a bit boring and sitting clapping as hundreds of people you don’t know parade across the stage and shake hands with the lady in the funny gown as you wait for the one person you are there for. He did however have a conversation with my mother about how we sometimes do things for others because it is about making them happy by sharing in things important to them.
Why was having my 11 year old and 7 year old child there so important to me?
To me it is about showing them that success should be celebrated, about family and about them understanding you’re never too old to stop learning or achieving. But it was also a time to be together as a family, it is the first time in several years for both my parents to be at an event with both the children, let alone at a tie where the children can engage and chat and create memories.
It was also daunting looking at all the young fresh-faced graduates leaving to the world of work and graduate schemes or ‘saving the world’ and realising that I was almost twice the average age and venturing into the same work-market.
For the family it was a great shared experience with laughs and not too many moans and no arguments…. For my dad, it was the second graduation of three in a week, my sisters BSc the week a Friday before and my other sisters’ MSc that Wednesday, for my children it is seeing their dad once again dress in funny clothes.
I hope it will create a desire in my children to earn and graduate from a University.
I must point out that we were lucky as the university chancellor was Sandi Toksvig, it led to a very entertaining and humours speech to graduates, and a comment on life that I thought I would share…….
“….never have more children than your car has windows..