We did it! Reflecting on our graduation and learning journeys

Fiona Akello, MSc Addiction and Mental Health student, and Dom Conroy, Psychology lecturer at London Met, share a moment of reflection following their recent graduation.

Date: 19 December 2023

Graduation events are a snapshot of a broader learning journey, involving the support and love from a much wider cast, but are an undeniably precious point for graduates who have invested time, energies and made important sacrifices to reach this final, cathartic day.

Fiona, graduating with her BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care, said: "I was born and raised in Uganda and after migrating to the UK, I decided to study at London Metropolitan University. My degree studies developed my self-confidence and made me more independent, and I made lots of friends from different countries and cultural backgrounds, throughout my learning I met inspiring academic staffs who are experts in their field. Wearing my graduation cap and a gown is a dream come true and I’m ready to make the world my castle with my Honours degree. I put in a lot of work, time, and persistence to achieve my goals.

"Graduating with Dom and others was the best experience that I will never forget. I was happy catching up with fellow graduates, seeing people taking pictures with their friends and families. It was good vibes and energy in the hall and the graduation was spectacular, seeing other follower graduates dancing and walking on the red carpet was amazing.

"I am currently studying Addiction and Mental Health MSc at London Met and this time next year, hopefully, my current classmates and I will all graduate. One thing I know, learning never stops and I will continue to learn and grow. Experience is the best teacher and my graduation experience I will forever remember.

Dom, graduating with an MA in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, said: "It was incredible joining Fiona and hundreds of graduates and their families on this powerful occasion. Building a community of practice can be central to successful learning, but learning is also an intensely personal experience with deep roots in our identities and histories as people.

As a younger learner, I was paralysed with fear in classrooms and 'learnt to learn' with maturity in my 30s. Here I am mindful that these struggles were experienced as a white male individual; starting points of relative privilege and capital that did not involve facing the barriers and prejudices that many higher education graduates have negotiated, challenged, and rejected. To join Fiona and hundreds of other graduates at December's graduation to celebrate, and to reflect on my MA studies, where I have ‘learnt to learn about learning and learners’, is deeply inspiring and moving.

"Being a part of this graduation event brought a reminder of the value of the learning journey, and where learning can take us during the course of our university degree studies and beyond into our professional and personal lived experience."