(This is a draft post from about two months ago)
I received a large envelope in the post last week, marked “Do Not Bend”. It was propped against my door as our letterbox is too small for it to have comfortably fitted. Inside was my Master’s Degree in Information Architecture.
It’s over, after four years of studying. I was confirmed as a student one day in November 2006, to commence in 2007, and the next day my doctor confirmed I was pregnant. Debating whether or not to continue, I decided to push on and complete it over a longer period than the three years allotted.
I wouldn’t have been able to do this had it not been for the fact it was a distance education course. The flexibility of distance learning/online learning meant for me I could fit my study around my family’s needs, and not have to worry about childcare to attend classes.
It was funny to see how the delivery of the educational materials evolved over my course. Initially the material was paper-based, with much of the forum discussions and submission of assignments the only online component. Halfway through, the delivery changed with notes online, examples on Youtube and a greater reliance on chat, wikis and Skype to communicate with my fellow classmates.
For the most part, the teachers were great. My teachers encompassed both IT and Library, and the mix was interesting :). I also enjoyed the wonderful access to a huge range of databases, which was great for my professional development!
I remember a lot of late nights of finishing off assignment to submit by the midnight deadline, reading on the train, snatching moments to study when the kids were asleep, and walking to ACU around the corner from my house for my exams. I remember the support I received from MPOW, my boss and my lovely friends.
In my heart I wanted to go to the conferral ceremony and finally meet the students with whom I had conversed in the online fora and via email over the years, and introduce myself to my teachers. However my head prevailed with the argument that the ceremony was in the middle of the week, it was in Wagga Wagga and it would have been a huge logistical nightmare balancing work, school and childcare just for me to go up by myself. And I would have really wanted to share it with the people who mattered the most, my little family.
Honestly I couldn’t have done it without their support. I know I tried Mr BG’s patience constantly, but he looked after the kids while I was at the library studying, getting up to the kids while I was still on the computer finishing off assignments and made me endless cups of tea. He was a saint.
So I had my own little graduation celebration the day my degree arrived at the house. We all went to the local pub for a meal, the children behaved impeccably and we had a lovely time :).