Graduation; the end point of just over three years of work and study, the end point of 19 years of education, or the beginning of a new scholarly journey? For me, graduation means all of this and more. It is the final chapter of my life as a student, a formal recognition of academic achievement, a right of passage, the realisation of a long-held dream, and a new title.
In this short-but-sweet Sunday post, there are just two important things that I would like to say. The first is to recognise that (as came up frequently in the discussions following my last post) the learning by no means ends here. The value of an academic career is in the constant learning and adding to the collaborative pool of knowledge. A career that I feel hugely privileged to (now formally) be a part of. However, as discussions across the media and the blogosphere are continually highlighting, only a few get to walk that privileged path for their whole career. Therefore, it is possible (perhaps likely) that the hardest lessons lie ahead. Lessons such as, how to choose and train for a new career, and how to apply research skills in a new direction. The point is that graduation marks the end of one (long and difficult) journey, and hopefully the beginning of a new, challenging, and exciting journey, wherever that journey may lead.
The second, and most important, thing I would like to say is, in short, thank you. It is unlikely that many people will even glance at the acknowledgements page of my thesis. Therefore, I would like to spend a few words on saying thank you for all of the support that I received along the way. As lonely as a PhD can feel at times, I know that I definitely couldn’t have done it if I really was alone. So, thank you to my parents, my growing family, friends old and new (especially anyone who ever came to the pub on a Friday), my colleagues and collaborators, and of course, my PhD supervisor.