Yesterday is one of my favourite days of the year, our annual CYM Awards Ceremony. Students from all of our courses – our six day Engage youth work or children’s course to our Masters students come and dress up and graduate! I get to wear my slightly garish red gown from Sheffield and Paul his University of Gloucestershire robes from his MA.
The graduating MCYM group represents so many stories of overcoming, of perseverance, of inspiration, of perspiration, of changed lives, fresh visions and transformed lives. It is not easy to do a degree where you are working in a professional capacity as a children and family or youth or schools worker concurrently to studying. But to take Churchill’s phrase this is not the beginning of the end, it is the end of the beginning, learning doesn’t stop because there is a bit of paper saying you have a degree, it goes on, informally if not formally.
I still recall some of the things I learnt as an undergraduate, while some of the information may be out of date, some of the concepts I learnt have stayed with me and have nurtured and encouraged me in the different paths I have followed since graduation. I know the story of the Pelican because I studied portraits of Elizabeth 1 in a contextual module on a course which in many ways was ahead of its time, in a faculty called Cultural and Community Studies. These concepts framed each module I took and while I was not yet studying theology I learnt the important of context and the development of concepts. My hope for each one who graduated yesterday is that they too enjoy the learning journey and take with them some nuggets of wisdom that will help them frame their future experiences.