I was absent at my graduation ceremony today.

(Oh dear, this sounds like the beginning of a melancholic dirge. I am laughing at myself.)

I realise I have not done anything at all to mark it, and consequently, none of my friends have; safe for a congratulatory card I received from my uncle and aunt in Sydney with a generous cheque attached. So perhaps there is some value in writing something up.

Even before I got my current job, I marked “not attending” on the official graduation page.

(Oh no, more emotional drivel. Jasmine snap out of it.)

Earlier this year, I imagined I was going to throw a party if I made it to the finish line of my degree, with my proud parents in attendance at the graduation ceremony, but dad’s busy and this is a bad time for them to fly over. I don’t see the point of celebrating if they’re not here. This degree is their investment (money, hard work, sweat and tears), an investment I honestly did not deserve considering my state in 2008. I am truly grateful to you, Pa and Ma.

(I am tearing up as I type.)

People tell me I am talented and what not, but I make it a point to remember that when I started my degree, I had no confidence whatsoever that I was going to finish. It isn’t modesty – I have had significant challenges in the past 3 years.

So tonight, I want to remember and publicly acknowledge again God’s goodness and providence in my life.

I do not give thanks out of mere habit – I believe in working hard and working smart and I have reaped the rewards of diligence all my life. I know I am intelligent, and I am a fast learner. I take ownership of my learning. Many of my Aussie friends tell me they believe I have the people skills needed to overcome the cultural barrier that I still find very high.

But all these qualities have failed me at many points. So, while graduating fills me with a certain sense of pride, I do not consider it a personal achievement. 

My graduation is a day to remember God’s unmerited favour and enabling grace in my life…