Graduation 27th November 2015

That title might seem to simplistic but today was so special to me in so many ways.  So fair warning, I am going to ramble and it may be long but there are photos to give you something besides my ramblings to look at.

The Beginning

I woke up a full three hours before the alarm and within 5 minutes I had pulled my entire wardrobe onto our bed.  I didn’t want to buy a new outfit, I wanted one that I already had, that I loved and that I would feel comfortable in on the stage.  The one I chose surprised me.  I had never worn it (still had tags on, no idea when or why I chose it) and it was not my normal top or skirt length (heck lets be honest I rarely wear skirts).  I thought I would pick a colourful skirt because I know from the audience the lower items of clothes can be seen.   I put all my options on and tortured Chad for half an hour or so.  He is brutally honest which I wanted and he liked this one too.  These photos are from the trial period:


20151127_094436   20151127_095011







I spent some time fluffing with my hair (there was the demise of an innocent can of hair spray – yes – the whole can). Okay fine I also used the blow dryer I found in the cupboard to see what my hair wanted to do today when dry and yes I chatted away to it (which hubby responded with the comment its inanimate what am I expecting back? Hmm – for it to be tidy and stay where I want it to – is that too much to ask of my hair?)  I also applied my basic makeup so I didn’t look splotchy or too pale.  I liked my overall look.  For the first time, in a long time, I accepted this is how I look now and I can enjoy that and wear what I like – so I did.

I thought my jewelry decisions would be hard but they weren’t.  My Pandora necklace (butterfly) symbolises my niece Jade, who we lost way too young.  The matching butterfly earrings were a gift from my parent – in – laws.  The silver bracelet was a gift from my parents and the other two Pandora bracelets have charms from throughout my life.  I had hubby in sight for much of the ceremony and he really steadies me.  I owe so much to him.  He never doubted that I would pass, even when I was sitting in tears stressed out and having a tantrum.

I had discussed with my psychiatrist that I would probably be stressed and she suggested I take an Alprazolam to ensure I could attend and not have a panic attack in the crowded theatre.  I was never totally convinced that I could, right up to my post a few days ago.  After that I knew I could do it.  I thought I wouldn’t need it.  The old staunch, grind through it but then I though no, I want to enjoy this day.  I was starting to panic at home as well, so I went for it and I have to say it did help me enjoy the day.


I had to be at the theatre and seated 20 minutes before the ceremony started.  These photos are the  ones just before I entered to be seated.  (Photo 1) The banner is over Palmerston North’s main street and says “Congratulations to our graduates” and has Massey University branding. (Photo Two) The Regent Theatre is where graduation was held.  It has been restored and is beautiful inside.



It felt real when I saw all the graduates and their families.  I was really excited to see my parents arrive.  Mum and dad have been amazing, sitting through many graduations and with such pride.  I had three very important people with me and that made today even more special (the third being my long suffering hubby).  I put mum in my cap, which is the next photo.  We look alike (everyone says that from this photo and that makes me proud as she like all the women in our line is a strong and capable woman that I love dearly).


I entered the theatre and was three rows from the back.  The next photos show a little of the theatre.


The seats are so close together that you almost sit on top of the people on either side but they are comfortable.   I talked with the people nearest me and that settled the last nerves (of course, first I dropped my phone under the seat in front and my cap behind me and my program as well, but it settled).   Walking down the row can be iffy too as there is not much room for the less than petite.

I have to say I did take a lot of selfies – well for me.  This one was before the ceremony started and shows some more of the details of the theatre.  I am not a natural ‘smile’ person so don’t get excited if you think the selfies will all have that in them.


The Ceremony Begins

Once it started we stood while the Official and Academic Officials walked in and sat on the stage.  The following photos show that.  There was a LOT of PhD red on display in the processions.



The ceremony had some moments of hilarity.  Like trying to sing the Gaudeamus, which yes, is in Latin.  I think we slaughtered that innocent language.  Massey is very English in the approach to graduation and much of the ceremony follows long established traditions.

The Address

Our speaker was Professor Paul McDonald and he was natural and really funny.  My favourite part was that, “while the early bird gets the worm, it is the second mouse that gets the cheese”.  He mainly spoke of finding empathy and being true to your values.  I really enjoyed his speech, he reminded me of Scott and much of his philosophy.  He engaged his audience really well.


My Pre Walk On

Currently I can not show my walk on but I have the before photos since I carried my phone with me and had time to  take some.  I loved the story behind my Master’s closed sleeve gown.  The sleeves are long to put books and notes in etc and since my phone kept falling out of my bra I popped my cell phone in it.  It was great!! Here are some of the pre walk on photos.  In the first one you can see my hubby and parents.  Hubby has the camera and is looking at me and dad is in the striped top with mum between them.  Look past the graduates and they are in the middle row.


Musical Interlude

This was a singer, Ariana Tikao who sung her original composition, Tuia with an amazing media display.  I included one of the shots I caught of her and her display on the screen.



These are two of my favourite photos near the end of the ceremony:



The Street Walk

At the end of the ceremonies we walk from the theatre to the tents in the town square for tea/coffee etc



I think my lipstick had given up at this stage but it does show my certificate that I carried on the walk.

The Reception Tent



I just loved the floral decorations and the romantic roofing to the tent.

Hubby’s Surprise

The reason I took so many photos was that up till now I had had no photos for Media Studies.  When I was looking at the tents we found that I could order my capping moment photo and then Hubby says he would pay for a professional sitting.  So I should have a great photo of me, then me and my parents and then me and Chad.  I can’t wait to see them.

I am so excited, I went to the site for the official capping photo and was able to find mine from 2011 when I passed my Media Studies Graduate Diploma.   So I will have one precious photograph from that, no idea how good it will look, I am just excited to have one.  Hubby’s camera battery died before any photo’s could be taken.

Moments of Memories

Today was so special and throughout it I thought of Scott and I do believe he was with me today.  Chad and I went to Massey to return the robes etc and I got some last photos in my gown in front of the Old Main Building – now called Sir Geoffrey Peren Building.  These photos are some of the ones dear to my heart as I studied here in 1987 and for most of my Media Studies time.  It was also where Scott’s office was.



Chad and I had a look in the building that has been being refurbished and officially opened in March next year.  I love this building and I took these photos from:



It is an incredible refurbishment.  I am so pleased that this living embodiment of so many Massey University student’s journey.  This was where Massey began.  It was originally built 1929-31 and Sir Peren was the first Principal.  It will always be Old Main to me.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  Hope you weren’t too bored.  I may edit and change some of this because I am too tired tonight to do a decent edit now.




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