What difference has your degree made to you?

By 22nd February 2016Education

Last week I was lucky enough to sit in the Great Hall of Leeds University to watch my daughter graduate. A very proud and happy Mum; I was also reflective. I had been in the same hall, graduating a generation ago. Not much had changed apart from maybe the skirt lengths, hairstyles and sadly a lack of mortar boards because the ‘tossing of mortar boards into the air’ tradition was deemed a health hazard. I also thought about what difference my degree had made to me.

The current pro-vice chancellor, Vivien Jones, delivered a speech, which I hope that particular group of graduates remember. Sadly I cannot remember the wise words delivered at my graduation. She mentioned the current uncertain times and how the new graduates should be confident. Amongst other things, she spoke about the contribution Leeds graduates make to all spheres of life. She also pointed out that a strong economy is hinged upon a strong education system and investment in new ideas, skills and innovation.

Finally she hoped that the new graduates would take with them three things:

  1. a lifelong appetite for ideas, knowledge and learning (though many would view that day as the end of their formal education in reality it was just the start)
  2. a recognition of what they don’t know and hence an ability to admit mistakes and learn from others
  3. confidence in their own abilities – that they can think clearly and creatively.

It was a good speech so if you want to hear it for yourself, click here.

However, although reflective I didn’t have the time to go though the whole reflection cycle. This would have involved:

  • thinking about my experiences
  • learning from them
  • taking action from the new perspectives I had made.

Reflective practice is widely used in many professions, but particularly in healthcare and education. It is key to developing professionally and directly supports the three areas that the new graduates will hopefully take with them from Leeds University.

Congratulations and good luck to all 2012 graduates.