And with that, I’m officially done!

Every year the Residential Colleges host a Valedictory Dinner for graduating residents and their families. On Saturday the 24th of October, it was my turn to attend the dinner as a soon-to-be USQ graduate- Yes, the perfect excuse to buy a new dress! At the dinner I had the privilege of delivering the speech on behalf of the Steele Rudd graduates, and while I did get nervous, I got through it and managed to get a few laughs from the audience. #winning #success

New dress- ready for the valedictory dinner

I love an excuse to buy a new dress

Making the Speech

Despite the nerves, I made it through my speech

At the dinner we all shared memories, received advice for the future and were thanked for our contributions to the Residential Colleges community. We laughed and danced late in to the night, continuing to make memories and forge friendships at our final college event before moving into the ‘big wide world’.

Celebrating the evening with friends

Celebrating the evening with friends

I first moved to Steele Rudd College in February 2011 as a very shy and innocent 17 year old who had never been away from home for more than 10 days at a time. Looking back, I can remember I was extremely uncertain about what the next few years of my life would hold. I remember thinking things like, ‘What if I don’t make friends?’, ‘What if I don’t fit in?’, ‘What if I get homesick?’, ‘What if I fail?’ and ‘What if I don’t like what I am studying?’ It took me a little while to settle in, but I discovered that lots of ‘freshers’ felt exactly the same as me.

It didn’t take long for me to make friends in fact, the friends I made in my first few days at college are still my friends today. I discovered everyone is welcome and no one is left out, everyone fits it. I learnt it’s perfectly natural to get homesick and that it’s not something to be ashamed of. My friends stuck by me and helped me through when I was feeling really homesick. I made trips home to visit my family and friends whenever I could. I even spoke with my family on the phone every night, and still do.

First Year

Friends in my first year (2011). Myself, Sophie, Dimity, Cassie and Ash

Now

This year (2015) Ash, Myself, Sophie and Cassie at Dimity’s wedding.

‘What if I fail?’ While I’ve never failed a course, I did fail an exam in my first semester. While I was disappointed I’d failed the exam, I chose to learn from the experience. The next semester I was more dedicated to my study and started preparing for my exams much earlier. I’ve always told myself that I would only truly fail if I gave up, and I never ever give up.

In high school, two of my best subjects were business and legal studies, which is why I decided to study a double degree in business and law at uni. At the end of my first year I realised law wasn’t for me. I contacted my Student Relationship Officer (SRO) who helped me change from the double degree into a single business degree and apply for credits for the courses I had already completed.

I often hear people say high school is the best time of their life, but for me uni and living on college have been the best experiences of my life! The friendships I’ve forged and the memories I’ve made will stick with me forever.

Friends and memories collage

The friendships I’ve forged and the memories I’ve made will stick with me forever

Five years since I was first handed my key, I have grown as a person and have learnt heaps, and I don’t just mean academically. I’ve learnt how to be a good person, how to budget, how to manage my time and how to overcome the challenges life throws at me.

With the click of a button and nine minutes and 34 seconds to spare, I submitted my last assessment piece for my Master’s on Friday the 30th of October, I was officially done! 🙂

Last assignmnent finised

The last assessment piece of my degree submitted.

If you’ve never studied, are only just starting to study, are half way through, or have completed your studies, never give up! Embrace the opportunities life throws at you because, as Mark Twain once said:

Explore. Dream. Discover. Quote

For those of you who are still studying, good luck with your remaining assessments and courses. To all of you who are now finished your degrees, I wish you all the very best of luck for whatever your future holds, I hope all of your dreams come true.

Valedictory Dinner

Valedictory Dinner is an evening where the graduating residents from each of the colleges come together and enjoy a dinner in honour of their time on college. Mine, I’m sad to admit, occurred in October this year. I’m sad about it because it means that my time on college is finally coming to an end, a very sad realization indeed. Regardless, this was an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the ups and downs of our journey, which, for most of us, has been many years. Between the good food and powerpoints, there was, of course, an important reminder of the significance of this moment.

Valedictory-39

There were four speakers, the valedictorians from each of the colleges, and our guest speaker, to deliver the valedictory address. The three valedictorians were Alex Darton from McGregor, Steph Piper from Steele Rudd, and Lachlan Withnall from Concannon. Steph had spent her first two years on McGregor, so had some horribly embarrassing photos of all of the McGregor residents, myself included. We remembered strange haircuts, unusual activities, and peculiar goings on. Lachlan reminded us of the general superiority of Concannon College, and Alex brought us home with a reflection on the beauty of finding time for yourself amongst the crazy college environment.

 

The Valedictory speaker took the time to remind us of the merits of being kind, of knowing what you need to help you through the university environment. We were regaled with tales of cats, kindness, and University life. For me, there was a moment of learning not touched on by our speakers, and it occurred as I watched all of the graduates receive the beautiful photo frame given to us by the colleges. It was a reminder of the significance of community and comradeship. As someone who holds a strong need to maintain close relationships with people, I had the opportunity to see many of my closest friends as the people they’d grown to become, which was frankly a magnificent experience.

 

Valedictory dinner, beyond the memories and reminders of the friendships developed, was a wonderful evening full of great conversation, excellent food (and wine) and fantastic opportunities to reflect upon the magnificent years that had preceded it.

Valedictory-132 Valedictory-126

Graduation from College Life? Here I come!