The history, location, size, the nature of the degrees and the manner in which they are delivered make the study experience at ifs University College stand out from that of other degree awarding institutions, and the same applies when we consider the graduation ceremony.
For the majority of students graduating around the country this summer the graduation ceremony not only marks the culmination of several years of hard work, but it also the moment when the safety net of university life is replaced by the uncertainty of trying to take that first step on the career ladder. It is, at one and the same time, a moment of celebration and one of nervousness.
Mature and part-time students
ifs has a relatively large contingent of mature and part-time students, many of whom have been juggling an existing career with their studies. For them September’s ceremony may mark the end of one career and the start of a new one, or be the moment from which a host of new and exciting opportunities are opened up.
Of course, in many ways the graduation ceremony at ifs is just the same as that of other universities: a chance to honour the achievement of those completing their studies, but for many of our graduates, the ceremony provides an opportunity. As Ashley Higham, one of last year’s graduates put it: “Today is an opportunity to celebrate with both my financial institution and the family and friends who have supported me throughout the qualification. Sometimes you have to give up time with family, friends, and some of your working time is going towards your qualification so I think it’s a time for me to say “thanks very much” to them and to celebrate a bit myself.”
The future is bright
Even for those who are graduating for the first time, who have not yet started out in the world of work, the vocational nature of the degrees offered by ifs means that many of them, by contrast, will have made up their minds long ago about what to do next. After dedicating three years to achieving the qualification to allow them to follow their clear ambition of working in the financial services industry, there must be a sense of impatience to put their knowledge into practice.
Speaking at Graduation 2014, ifs University College’s vice-principal Martin Day said: “[Graduation] is a terrific event. I always think it is such a contrast to the time that students have spent over the past three years, beating last minute deadlines, worrying about getting their dissertations together, whether their exam results are exactly as they want, all brought together in what seems quite a different type of event, but that seems to fit – something to celebrate with friends and family.”