The icing on YOUR cake

In January 2010 I wrote myself a goal. It read as follows:

The sky is blue and the sun is shining brightly on the daffodils that are dancing in the wind. It is spring 2013 and I’m at Leicester University with my husband and parents awaiting the commencement of my and my fellow students’ graduation ceremony. Inside the main hall there is a constant buzzing of excited voices from proud parents, partners and friends. Not forgetting, for course, the graduates themselves who are chattering amongst themselves sharing their stories of what seemed like a very loooooooooooong journey to get here.

The University Chancellor, vice-Chancellor and professors enter the room. The room fills with silence; drop a pin and you would surely hear it. After 10 minutes of introductions and formalities the students are called up one by one to officially receive their qualification.

Next up…. ME.

Master of Science in International HR and Globalisation. Susan Schoormans. Congratulations.

The room erupts with applause and I distinctly hear my family scream for joy. I shake hands with the chancellor, collect my certificate and proceed to walk proudly off the stage – so tempted to do a cartwheel like a schoolgirl would or indeed a footballer after scoring a goal! I have achieved one of my lifetime ambitions – to successfully complete a master degree in my profession – HR!

When I return to my seat I recall the two year period leading up to this spectacular event. It was the beginning of 2010 and I knew deep down that the completion of my MSc would be the start of a new chapter in my book of life.



It’s now February 2013 and as I reflect on the goal only a few things were not as I had envisaged during my graduation day on the 25th January 2013; these few things made the day even more special and even more memorable.

It was not sunny but overcast and the north wind was blowing; it was bitterly cold. The daffodils were in hiding, clearly shivering under a layer of snow. I remember when going to collect my cap and gown asking if the gowns we were wearing were thermal – no and sorry, was the answer. I too was shivering walking from the main campus to DeMontford Hall, however, I was glowing with pride at my achievement.

On entering the hall I was quickly able to locate my family; they had a birds-eye view of the stage. I then chatted away with my fellow MSc CLMS students some of whom I had met at teaching weekends over the course of the two and a half years; one in particular had become a real friend during my studies and I am sure will remain so for many years to come. We had used email and skype to motivate each other particularly towards the latter stages of our courses – the dissertation. You see, studying by distance learning does not mean that you are alone ( On turning to the lady sat next to me I was astonished to learn that she had studied the same course as I and we had never met! What a lovely surprise.

No sooner had we started to share our stories and take pictures of each other all looking rather dashing in our gowns but, the official music started and we stood up awaiting the entry of the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, professors and other academic employees. Here we go I thought to myself. The butterflies in the stomach had arrived!

After 45 minutes of calling up students one by one to be officially awarded their qualification I remember looking at my watch thinking there’s no way we will get through all the remaining students and finish on time. How wrong I was. It was just like clockwork – started on time and finished on time.

Next, our row was called up. Two name checks before I walk up the steps to receive my “congratulations”. I quickly glance up to my family and smile nervously. The butterflies are really fluttering around now!

Master of Science in International HR and Globalisation. Susan Schoormans.

I walk confidently across the stage towards the Vice-Chancellor, smile at him as he says “congratulations” and then confidently walk back to my seat. As much as I would have loved to have shown my acrobatic skills I thought better of it (LOL). Instead, I considered that the butterflies in my stomach were doing more than enough of their own acrobatics and proceeded to focus on getting safely back to my seat! Within minutes of returning to my seat the butterflies were gone, I was feeling very relaxed and was beaming from ear to ear. All the hard work and perserverance had paid off and the feelings of relief, content and total satisfaction had arrived.

The ceremony came to an end and a graduate turned to me and said “can we do it all again”. Yes please, I reply!

As we leave the hall we are handed our certificates and on receipt of mine I throw my arms into the air and shout “YES”. I did it, I REALLY did it, I say to myself.

The ceremony was a real treat; it far exceeeded my expectations. I tell you; you have to be there when it’s your turn to graduate. You simply cannot miss it! I would not have missed it for the world and neither should you. It really was the icing on the cake for me and it will be the icing on YOUR cake too.

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About ss608

Sue has now graduated from the University of Leicester. I'm Sue, a British expat living in Oslo, Norway. I have over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources (HR) and have recently, successfully completed studying the MSc International Human Resources (HR) and Globalisation course by distance learning with the University of Leicester. Sue has now graduated from the University of Leicester.

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4 responses to “The icing on YOUR cake”

  1. Wassila Howes

    Well done, Sue!

    Lovely to read your personal experience on your graduation day! Of course, it’s all well worth it:)


    Wishing you the very best and every success on your professional journey beyond our studies:)

  2. Jo

    Congratulations, Sue!

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