It was a collection of moments that will stay with me forever. Seated in Lincoln Cathedral waiting for my daughter to graduate gave me time to reflect on just what was about to happen. In my previous life as an academic I have graduated lots of students and it always felt like a complete privilege to be part of their moment. They would come to me and wait for their name to be called and many of them would be trembling. That short walk turns them from a student to a graduate and from then on life will never be the same. The achievement is profound and I could always see the sense of pride in the photos taken after the ceremony.
This ceremony was always going to be different as this was all about Molly. I instinctively knew she wouldn’t be trembling and as she came into view at the side of the stage I recognise this new version of her. A version that is happier in her skin than ever before and I version that is filled with self belief. Molly’s journey to university was not typical as her qualifications were gained through, largely, self study. She was well prepared for her degree studies and quickly established an upper second class profile which she managed to maintain for all three years. Now graduating with a BSc in Conservation Biology she is ready to start tackling the very real issues of saving endangered species. This is Molly’s calling and it has always been this way. So her short walk meant something more than just becoming a graduate. Her walk signalled that she is ready to play her part and the sense of achievement was thus heightened. Only a dozen or so students graduated from that course but I watched all of them closely and offered a gentle blessing for each of them. These are the people that are going to change the world and make it a better place. These are the people that are going to step up and speak up for creatures that humans have neglected and endangered. They represent part of the apology for what we have done to creatures from all over the world.
For Molly the future will become a continuation of her passion for field research that serves to illuminate the issues and begins to present the solution. It would not be possible to be more proud. It would not be possible to feel more humble. Immediately after Molly came her lovely man, Scott. Scott is a communicator both in the spoken and written word and I feel sure that his impact will also be felt widely. He will be the voice that makes us all sit up and pay attention. His words will have meaning and his contributions will make a lasting difference. I was fortunate to sit next to his mother during the ceremony and it was a time well shared.
As they walked down the aisle in the centre of the cathedral we instinctively knew we were witnessing the future. These science graduates all graduated with degrees that will help them make a difference. From engineering to conservation; all were valid.
In a world where degrees are common currency the choice of study becomes even more important. These students all chose wisely and as they streamed out of the darkness of the cathedral building into the light of a beautiful autumn day I just smiled. It was an honour to share these moments with them and their families. Graduating is about stepping forward knowing that you have some serious tools in your toolbox that should enable you to live a life you have imagined. I can hope for nothing more than that for each and every one of them.
Molly’s wonderful girlfriends all graduated together and as they all take their first fully fledged steps I was left on the side admiring them. As young women their impact is potentially unlimited. They are a new generation of women who seem so mature and connected with their world. They have remained the best of friends throughout their three years and they should be proud of that. They have supported each other every step of the way and so they graduated together with beauty shining out of them.
Pete and I met some of Scott’s family on this most special of days and they were all an absolute delight. His mum, Debbie, and her partner, Fay, spent the most time with me and we shared some laughter and some tears. I am grateful that Fay remembered the tissues. I didn’t know these women before today but something tells me that we were destined to meet as we discovered just how much we have in common. I am taking my job of ensuring Scott is happy on the island very seriously. He is completely adorable and when I met his family I could see why. Molly and Scott navigated their way through their day as they always do ensuring that every moment was bottled. They created yet more wonderful memories.
So, as Molly and all her friends move forward they do so surrounded by much love and admiration. Molly’s journey will now continue as she takes some time out to decide her next move. Whatever she decides to do I know it will involve animals and I know it will make a difference. She is our darling girl and we love her very much.
Congratulations Molly, Scott and the girls!
Scottish island mum xxxxxxx