My friend, Ms. M & I enrolled for a certification course in Early Childhood Education in January 2020, got hit by the pandemic in March (all our classes were converted to online sessions), and finally completed the course in the Winter of 2021. Little did I expect that we would be invited to the annual graduation ceremony, let alone be called on stage to receive the certificate.
Sometime in April, Ms. M received an email invitation to the ceremony. I didn’t get an email… I waited for a few days and still, nothing came. She forwarded me the email and we realized that the event was being held on a Thursday morning, which meant that we both would have to take the day off. I notified my employer, RSVPd, and then honestly forgot about it. I am glad they sent a reminder about 10 days before the event. And guess what? We were asked to pick up our graduation ensemble… can you imagine? A full-blown outfit for a certification course?!
We got our bright red gowns and caps, decided on the outfits, and fixed the pick-up time… we were all set. I wanted to surprise my parents by calling them from the ceremony, but I realized that the event was being live-streamed. So, I sent them the link and then called them as I drove to pick up Ms. M. I could see that they were visibly excited, but I had no idea to what extent their excitement would go.
We checked in along with hundreds of other students, all the while feeling a little out of place (I was, at least feeling that way). Later at the ceremony, though, that feeling vanished when I realized that the oldest graduate for the day was a young 77. As we settled into our seats, it dawned on me that each of us would be called onto the stage… I panicked!!! Meanwhile, my phone started buzzing with messages from family and friends… my mother was doing a lot of publicity in the background. And while I was thinking that only my parents, Mr. P, my MIL, and Ms. G would watch the event, it turned out that many many more witnessed it live (I was and still am very touched by their gestures).
After the customary speeches and felicitations, the students were called onto the stage. I was among a handful of people who were wearing a mask, and I decided to take it off on stage, for photographs. I didn’t know how nervous I was until I realized that I forgot to remove the mask!!! Luckily I took it off by the time I reached the photographers off stage… hope I didn’t forget to smile too!
What I learned from this experience:
1. Ms. M and I managed to successfully complete a course, to pick a career that is completely different from what we had been doing for almost a decade.
2. If it had been a full-fledged degree, we both would have graduated with a summa cum laude GPA (with our perfect 4.0 scores)
3. Age is just a number; if a 77-year old can earn a degree, anyone can
4. It’s never too late to try something new
5. Did we earn some BRAGGING RIGHTS or what?!?
Until I write again, get inspired by people like us ;-), make the leap if you have been considering taking up studies, or a new career, experience new highs, and create experiences to cherish forever.
P.S. CONGRATULATIONS to all the students graduating this year 🙂