Over a year on from that first blog about my forthcoming six-month sabbatical, it all glided to a graceful conclusion earlier this week with a graduation ceremony in the Great Hall at Goldsmiths College. It was a privilege to study for my MA in Digital Media with a wonderful group of people at an institution which has encouraged me to challenge everything – and most importantly, to challenge myself. I don’t know what I was thinking, but completing a Masters was much harder work than I expected it would be. I did best in the practical modules, and well enough in the theory to make it, overall to a merit.
When I look around at my classmates I am still astounded at their diversity – from people at the beginning of their careers to those with decades of experience like me. We came from Brockley, Bristol, Brooklyn, Beirut, and Bangkok. And even some places that don’t begin with ‘B’, like China, Greece and Italy. People of all ages, from all parts of the world, from all walks of life, united by a deep curiosity about what the digital world means. Between us, we put a ton of work into trying to understand and interpret it.
My dissertation gave me the chance to look in depth at how a wide range of digital platforms and technologies were used for humanitarian purposes in connection with the Nepal earthquake in 2015. From facebook to drones, it was fascinating to explore how people and organisations activated the digital world in connection with the relief effort. Having the support of my employer, Vodafone, was both welcome and enlightened.
As my excursion into academia draws to close, I would like to pass on a quote which the Warden, who runs Goldsmiths College, included in his graduation day address. These wise words, originally uttered by Judy Garland, are sound advice for everyone:
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else”.
Photo of Goldsmiths University © Nicola Rossi