Graduating with distinction

I still cannot believe we are finished and done! What a joy. I do wonder how we managed to fit it all in now – but somehow we did! Four years ago Monica Olander, Sue Dawson and myself decided to further our studies, upskill, and embark on a Social Science (Social Welfare) degree, at Charles Sturt University.  We are all staff pastors at C3 Oxford Falls and C3 City, Sydney, in our 50’s, (actually Monica is still hanging onto her 40’s), married with three children (3 children each that is), so it was not like we were needing anything else to fill our time, but we decided to seize the opportunity and give it a go.  We were a little nervous as we stepped into university demands, but kept reminding ourselves that we had each other and we had God to help us (I kept telling myself “I have got the mind of Christ”). Getting our head around referencing and finding our way around the on-line library was no small feat initially, but I am proud to say that we pushed through and pressed on, and all graduated with distinctions in December 2015. We cheered each other on with our readings and assessments through our ‘Brainiacs’ WhatsApp, and also groaned and moaned together. As mature age students, we gave it our best shot by reading every article and journal for our required reading, and basically worked our middle aged butts off,  realising the privilege of learning and growing, but also feeling the stretch!

Although it was physically grueling finding the time to keep up with all the readings and finish our assessments on time, it was without a doubt one of the greatest things we have done.  It has certainly equipped us to better understand the complexities of people and their worlds, and hopefully, we are better pastors because of it. It was wonderful to immediately apply what we were learning into our pastoring and church life. Learning the art of critical thinking was also a great take home skill. Some of our subjects were Multicultural Competency, Psychology of the Ageing, Emotional Development of Children, and Social Policy - to name a few. 

Graduation day was so much fun – we were the last to give our gowns back. We were outside taking photos and cap throwing for as long as we could.  It had been a long hard four years and we made sure we got the most out of grad. Are we glad we did this degree? – YES!  Are we glad we are done and dusted – YES!  Are our husbands and children glad we are done and dusted – HECK YES!!

Sheralyn Bucknell
Sheralyn is a Staff Pastor at C3 Church Oxford Falls and also a trained fitness instructor & sports masseuse. She has an Advanced Diploma in Ministry, Diploma of Community Services and has completed her Bachelor of Social Science in Social Welfare.