Attending their on-campus graduation ceremony can now be crossed off the bucket list for Orange graduates from Charles Sturt University’s class of 2020.
They were among close to 600 graduates and 1,800 guests attending one of eight ceremonies at Charles Sturt in Bathurst this week.
One Orange graduate who was proudly in attendance was fifth-generation local Ms Jenna Hattersley (pictured with her family), whose graduation ceremony on Thursday 3 June was almost a decade in the making.
Back when she was in high school, the now-Bachelor of Business Management graduate never thought she had the ‘brains for university’.
But for eight years she impressively juggled university while working full-time, having her two children – now seven and three – and running her business.
She said at her ceremony she finally felt that ‘feeling of accomplishment’ that inspired her to keep going throughout her degree.
“The graduation ceremony was the one moment I had been focused on to get me through my degree,” she said.
“I am the first one to graduate in my family and this ceremony is the first graduation my parents have attended, so it’s an important celebration.
“The feeling of accomplishment I had when I was wearing the gown with my family there was exactly what I visioned on those days when I felt I couldn’t do it anymore.
“Having my biggest supporters there today - my family, husband and children – showed them that anything is possible.”
Since graduating, Ms Hattersley has continued working in her full-time role as the Operations Coordinator for the dental clinics at Charles Sturt.
She’s also been pouring some of her newfound time into her business, Tailored Lifestyle, which provides coaching services and digital products, including time management tools and meal planning, to help people with busy lifestyles stay healthy.
“The reason I started my degree was to continue onto the next step in my professional development,” she said.
“The goal in my mind was to lead a team in the corporate world.
“Now I am in a position where I can apply all of the skills and knowledge from my degree, as well as the courses I have done, such as nutrition, event management and administration, to my new business and focus on a new idea I have.
“I also want to continue to grow as a leader and manager in my full-time role, and to help others achieve their own goals by knowing anything is possible.”
Another Orange resident who has been looking forward to her graduation ceremony over the past few months is Miss Mina Lama (pictured left in main image).
Originally from Kathmandu in Nepal, the international student moved to the Central West so she could complete a Bachelor of Computer Science.
Although she’s disappointed the COVID pandemic has meant her family back home cannot come over to celebrate with her in person, she said attending the ceremony today alongside her friends was still an incredible experience.
“My whole family are so happy that I am graduating, but sadly they couldn’t attend today,” Ms Lima said.
“But my friends who are like my family were here today and they were more excited than me!”
“I have never had graduation ceremony, so I was really looking forward to today. I believe it’s the ceremony to celebrate your hard work and dedication to achieve the degree.
“It was wonderful to see the happy faces of all the graduates - including me - and the unity of all guest to cheer the achievements of their beloved ones.”