Today I had my graduation ceremony for my Master of Business (Research, Marketing) degree that I completed last year. After going through three previous graduation ceremonies, going on the fourth has given me the freedom to enjoy the day without being too caught up with the details of the event. It warmed my heart as I looked around and saw some familiar faces – ex-students who made it until the end and are now establishing themselves out there in the world.
It’s also special to have my mum, my eldest sister and my niece along with me to witness my current academic achievement. We had some photo sessions afterwards as well in the hall – Rhany, a friend from church, was kind enough to take some graduation photos of us. I didn’t feel like booking a proper studio photo session as it was just way to expensive! It was a bit surreal holding another parchment which represents two years of my life – with the degree, I have added extra post-nominals that now look rather ridiculous if I use all of them. Haha.
We went to Chinatown afterwards to have lunch at Ty Chow – it was a good lunch with Mum, Erly, Irene, Yani and Rhany. Afterwards we stopped briefly in a souvenir shop in Chinatown so my sister Erly could buy some tshirts for the folks back home. We took the rest of the afternoon easily – having had to get up way early today so I could be at the Convention Centre at 8.30am.
Unfortunately there was something that marred the enjoyment of the day – when I came to register myself for the graduation, they couldn’t find my details on the system, so they had to write my name down manually and assign my seat almost on the spot. This happened even after I did everything that the uni asked me to – like, checking to ensure that my name was properly spelled, that I provided the pronunciation guide to my name, and registering for the graduation. An ex-colleague also experienced the same thing – with her name not being in the system. I jokingly told her that I wouldn’t be surprised if the parchment that they gave on the stage would be a fake one for the day. Thankfully, I received my proper parchment as I walked across the stage.
Something that disappoints me is that my name is not on the Graduation Booklet. Having gone through previous ceremonies, I know that the Graduation Booklet is just a minor part of the whole event. However, to my mum who was there to witness my graduation personally – it’s a big deal. It’s a chance for her to show off to the rest of the family and something to bring back home to Indonesia. Now we have been given a book that has no personal link whatsoever – and something that is practically useless in terms of sentimental value. My mum said that she probably wouldn’t want to bring it back since my name is not there anyway. Because my details were lost in the administrative cockup, unfortunately the Professor who was given the task to read out the list of graduands also didn’t have the pronunciation guide to read my name. I tackled it with a smile, having used to every known permutation of spelling and pronunciation of my name. However, my mum also made a light comment on why they couldn’t read my name properly.
Having experienced a massive bureaucracy mess when I applied for my PhD, and now this, I am pretty annoyed at the moment at the University. It has left a bitter taste to a day that should have been another great milestone in my life. Never mind, these are all just minor things – I just wish that it had been a perfect day for mum. She did look happy on the photos – so for that I am thankful.
All in all, I am grateful to God that I’ve managed to finish the degree and now undertaking another stage in my academic career by continuing on to PhD. I know that more than ever, my faith to God will continue to be tested as I rely a lot more on my thinking and intellect to explain and write scientifically and systematically. I still believe that God is in the science and outside of science, that He is within the rational realm and goes beyond it as well.