And I'd like to thank the Academy.. (i am a knob) - Tactical Ninja
Apr. 4th, 2013
10:19 am - And I'd like to thank the Academy.. (i am a knob)
So I got my graduation guff in the mail the other day. Apparently I'm graduating in Ceremony 4, which is at 1:30pm on the 15th of May. They gave me 3 guest tickets. THREE! Do they have no clue how many people have supported me to get an education, and how without those people I'd probably not have even started?
I mean, there's you lot for a start, who've been all "Tats of course you're smart enough" and have not laughed at my attempts to be academic and read and commented on my posts about Wot I Have Lerned and asked challenging questions and posted links to how to do referencing and generally been an interactive resource for support and information and validation for the last 5 (fuck, FIVE!) years.
pombagira, who first inspired me through achieving an Honours degree, winning a psychological battle against a lifetime of being treated like she was stupid because of having dyslexia, and a very real battle against the dyslexia itself, which academia is not set up to deal with. And then she supported me as my friend and flatmate through most of the "I can't do this" and "Don't talk to me I'm writing an essay" and "I need to rant RIGHT NOW" and bringing me coffees and understanding.
happyinmotion and rivet, who in my head I have been known to refer to as my academic Mum and Dad, who are both well beyond where I'm at in terms of education but have never treated me as less-than because of it, and who have - occasionally with eye-rolling but never with patronisation - answered my noob questions and discussed basic topics, kept up with my 'how the hell did you get there' leaps of understanding and been ok with my application of sheep analogies to everything*, and importantly, asked the right questions to make me find the answers myself. And who have treated my newfound knowledge with respect, despite its newfoundness.
tieke who has, without fail, said matter-of-factly "That is not supported by evidence" every time I've started heading down the "I am not clever enough to do this" track.
TAFKARF, who has argued at length with me on the internet about a variety of topics, forcing me to make clear arguments and never allowing me to say anything that is not supported, thus developing my ability to make and support an argument. As we all know, in the Humanities that is one of the most important skills you can have.
ferrouswheel, who has more or less had a crash course in Humanities as I've gone through my degree, and who's patiently listened to my jargon-filled rants without stopping me to define all the terms. Way back before I considered the need to get educated, before we got together as a couple, when I first declared my intention to advocate for drug policy that recognised responsible drug use as legitimate, it was him who first stepped up and said "I'm with you on this." It made me realise that what I'm trying to do is important, I'm not alone, and that I'd have someone at my back should I choose to pursue it. And he has. <3
The YoT, who's been there for most of it, telling his friends "My Mum R Brainy" and never doubting that I'd do well because he has the faith of a child in his parent. Unconditional love is.. well, unconditional.
grist, who just assumed that of course I'd get a degree, duh.
All the Fidels people and the Burner community, who've been a) interested and b) willing to listen/talk/argue/network on the topic, and have continued to do so depite my occasionally sounding like a stuck record.
All the people who send me links to drug-related topics when you see them. A lot of my information comes this way. Thank you.
Oh god this is starting to sound like an Oscar speech. O.o
But.. Mum and Dad. Dad died in 2004 after a life that was always lived against the mainstream. From birth he bucked the trends and broke expectations, and he never stopped. Society expected X, Dad did Y. Consequently he lived a very interesting life and produced kids who always questioned the status quo. Turns out that while that gets you into trouble in school, it helps if you want to change the world. Mum died while I was doing my degree. 2 days before she died, I was able to tell her I'd got an A for my latest essay. She was so proud of me, and made a point of letting me know that even though she was so sick, as she has let me know she's proud of me all through my life, even when I've felt like a complete fuckup.
If they were alive, they would have wanted me to have a graduation ceremony. I'm the first in my family to get a degree, and that's why I'm doing the whole ceremony thing - for my family. My folks can't be there, but I have these three tickets. So the people I'm asking to be there are the YoT and grist, who are the only blood family I have left, and ferrouswheel, who is my chosen life partner and whose PhD hangs on our wall and inspires me every time I walk past.
I want to invite all my tribe, but I can't. So I reckon there should be some other sort of celebration in which I let everyone know how much I appreciate their presence in my life. But I'm not sure what to do. Thoughts?
Well that got sloppy. But.. I want to make it clear how big a deal this is for me. I didn't think it would be when I started, I was all "I just want people to listen to me" but by the end it had turned into something else, and it's been such a hard slog with so many things having happened while I've been studying that it feels like it's become a major life event. And I'm fully aware that it's just a degree, god.. but, um, actually, it's not just a degree. It's a big fuck you to all those people from *points* back there, that tried to make me nothing. It's tangible proof, basically, that they were wrong, and that the best form of revenge is a life lived well. Partly it's the degree and partly it's the people that have surrounded the getting of the degree, but as a whole it's a symbol that demonstrates how completely I've escaped that life. I am not that person any more, and quite possibly never was.
So yeah, it is a big deal.
* Functions in programming: If the loop part of a program is like a recipe (say for cooking a roast), and the first part of the recipe says KillSheep, defining the function KillSheep is a set of instructions on how to kill a sheep. Simple, really. *cough*