Monday, 16 September 2013

Graduation, Falmouth, September 2013…

There were many moments of finality during my Master’s Degree. This was the greatest. I studied Professional Writing with Falmouth University alongside a full time job for a little over two years, so the whole experience was a major juggling act, frantic at times, stressful at times, and looking back now I realise it was very much a marathon of deadlines and assignments and research and cramming my life and my day job alongside it. There were honestly many moments along the way when it felt like my passing the course and managing to keep up the required pace was an impossibility. But I made it. I finished. I reached the end.

When I say there were many moments of finality, the whole course was really a constant stream of beginnings and endings, whether it was starting new modules or stories, or reaching the end of projects and assignments and drawing a line under them before starting the next.

Handing in the final project in February this year was one such moment, arguably the biggest as it was a culmination of many months’ work and a lot of sacrifice. Waiting for the result equated to a nerve-wracking couple of months, and then when the result came in and I found out I had passed the course there came another moment of huge finality.

But it wasn’t until I attended the graduation ceremony in Falmouth last week that I felt any sense of closure with the course. Having been so focused on it for so long, since handing in that last assignment I have felt a little in limbo – as though I am just waiting for the next challenge and the next deadline to be announced. I’ve continued with my personal projects but I’ve felt a little on edge, the back of my mind always wondering if there is something crucial that I should be doing but have forgotten about.

It wasn’t until I walked across the stage adorned in all my academic finery, shook hands with the university’s Vice-Chancellor, and headed back to my seat and my classmates clutching a scroll, with a huge smile on my face, that I realised the MA is finished, I have graduated, and can close that chapter of my life with pride. I made it.

It was a hard, busy road to have walked, and as well as teaching me how to successfully navigate life in a full on balancing act, it has taught me so much about myself, my writing, my passions, and my desires, that I can’t imagine where I would be right now if I had not made that application back in 2010 and driven myself through the course.

I can’t possibly express how much of a positive impact it has had on my life in any coherent form, nor take the time to describe in detail just how much I have taken away from my studies. (Suffice it to say it is more than a branded paper bag and a rather funky wooden usb stick!) You have to go through something huge, something that you truly put all of yourself and your energy and your resources into, and succeed at it, to have any idea of the breadth of emotions that you go through in doing something like this and come out with on the other side.

It is a chapter that is now closed, and I owe a lot to the people who encouraged, cajoled and offered emotional support or a good, critical eye to me through it all. 

It is a chapter that is now closed, and the next chapter will prove whether I can now translate all I have learnt and all I have gained into a series of novels that will bring as much pleasure, surprise and excitement to others in the reading as they do to me in the writing.

Elloise Hopkins.


  1. I'm feeling much the same about my Diploma in Professional Puppetry (or DiPPy as I'm choosing to call it). I'm earning money as a puppeteer and puppetmaker on a day-to-day basis at the moment, I've passed the course and yet I don't feel like a puppeteer yet. There's just this piece of me that won't feel right, unjustified in calling myself a puppeteer, until that piece of paper is in my hands. 27th of Sept. at the Skipton Puppet Festival, she will be mine. Oh, yes, she will be mine ;)

    1. DiPPy! I like it. Well that date'll be here sooner than you think and I'm sure will make it all official and make you feel better about it, but trust me, you are a puppeteer, paper or no paper :-)

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