First published Saturday, July 5, 2014
Yesterday, Friday 4th July, 2014, I was able to attend the annual Graduation Ceremony for Pembrokeshire College in the wonderful setting of St Davids Cathedral. This was the third year that I’ve been, as a guest of the College, and each year the atmosphere, ambience and sense of achievement that exists in the air seems greater.
Degrees, certificates and awards were bestowed on young men and women from all walks of life, and indeed on some not so young men and women. Each and every recipient yesterday was realising another landmark in their lives, the result of serious dedication, hard work, sacrifice and determination, by them and those who have supported them – friends, family, tutors and peers.
In addition to the presentations, there were addresses made by invited speakers, the Principal of the College, the retiring Chairman of the Board of Governors and the newly appointed Chairman as well. Whilst all covering different subjects, and different angles, each made reference several times to the work involved in achieving the awards, those who had been supportive during that time, and suggesting what the future may involve.
Pride is a word sometimes overused, sometimes underused. Yesterday, in the pews and aisles of the Cathedral there was a strong sense of pride. The men and women receiving their awards, their parents, friends, family, tutors and peers all sharing in this. For others, like myself, there was another aspect too – a sense of pride in the establishment that takes the county name as it’s own, and through the staff there, provides opportunities for many to develop themselves, their skills and their careers through education and training.
Speakers referred to taking the skills gained to find career paths or roles that would excite and inspire – something to be passionate about, following dreams. These sentiments are often shared in many forms and through a whole host of media, and some folk take it to heart, whilst others sometimes seem unable or unwilling to. However, as the guest speaker for the day explained, in the world today, whilst skills are important to have, personality counts for more and more. A positive attitude, a ‘can do’ approach, a willingness to get involved, to learn, to be part of the team, will be a strength when seeking to progress along a chosen career path. The retiring Chairman commented that having a goal to aim for is important, but to be prepared for the path to that goal to deviate sometimes, a side step here, a detour there.
Life doesn’t have an instruction book, or a ‘how to’ guide. We can equip ourselves as far as possible through education, gaining skills and experience along the way, and once again the attitude we chose to adopt as we approach it will have a significant impact too. There will be times when nothing seems to go the way we want it to, when it seems we can’t control anything. There will be times when personal goals or career goals seem beyond reach and we may question the point of carrying on.
On days like those, looking back on events such as graduation or other significant milestones can be the push needed to keep going, to get back up on the path, take pride in what has been achieved so far, and reignite the passion within. As I sat there yesterday, taking in the atmosphere, and seeing the pride of all involved, I felt inspired to continue my own learning, to keep adding to my skills and experience, and through conversations over lunch, the passion for my work was once again reinvigorated as we talked about the ever changing business world. It was a wonderful day, full of celebration, pride and recognition of achievement, and the beginning of new pathways to new dreams. Pembrokeshire College and Pembrokeshire people, be proud!