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December 21st 2008 print

Michael Connor

Beckie graduates

Beckie has graduated from the local university. Her education there was an experience many of her generation have shared.

Beckie graduated this year. The ceremony was several weeks ago and the family say she looked really good in the cap and gown she hired. It’s been a tough three years for her. Youth Allowance didn’t go far though having the baby was a help. She’s been working all the time at the video shop. Though with all the DVD prices dropping that seems a business going nowhere fast.

For a while she thought of doing the conversion thing and getting Abstudy but couldn’t get the afternoon off for the circumcision thing at her local member’s electoral office. Dr Moreau had come down from Wadeye to make sure that strict Halal procedures were followed. Pity really. She said they give you a nice embossed certificate, a land title for a Darwin suburb and a coloured photo of Pat Dodson.

She said it was really easy, a couple of forms to fill in and her bank statement for id, she didn’t even need a birth certificate. Seems quite a few Sudanese immigrants were inquiring. Generally speaking the video people were pretty good to her and working under the counter it was easier to get time off for university things.

She went to a lecture in each subject at the beginning of each year, just to get the hang of things. Brian, her eldest brother, said that she should get to feel the university experience. He and the other boys have all been before.

Tutorials were a bit of a problem but luckily she had pretty understanding lady tutors who saw to it that she wasn’t always marked absent when she couldn’t make it. The child, young Shaun, she named him after that zombie film Shaun of the Dead, was sick for a while and that made things easier excuse wise.

The essays were no problem. It’s really fortunate that Beckie and her brothers did the same subjects. Those essays have done the family well. And they weren’t even new when Brian swapped them for some joints with those Vietnamese boys up the street and goodness knows who they got them from.

It’s not really cheating because Beckie really does have a busy schedule and just wouldn’t have the time – though no one in her family Googles as fast as she does. No one Beckie knows would call it dishonest and anyway they are all doing it themselves. Some of those university people must have corrected the same essay a dozen times. Beckie says it’s really funny to see the different marks the same essay gets from the same tutor and the different comments they write every year. Beckie said that for a while she wondered if it was the right thing to do in case someone caught on and actually thought of buying some fresh essays from those people you see advertising on the internet but then decided it was cheaper to just use what she had.

The exams were more of a problem. Funny thing, you think someone would say something about the really good marks Beckie got for her essays and the not so good ones she got for the exams. Somehow it all worked out. Beckie said that anyway it wasn’t much of a problem. If she had been asked she would have said about problems over women’s things or that Shaun had been ill the night before the exam. The only time she ever had a problem, with a male lecturer, she cried a bit and insinuated a few things about his closed door and he got off her case pretty smartly.

Well that’s all behind her now. I thought Beckie would have a problem finding a job but she was headhunted as soon as the results came out and she’s already started work. She’s now a senior editor at Melbourne University Press. Beckie says it’s not what she was looking for but it will do till something better comes along. I’m sure she will be very good though it’s just a bit of a shame that she had young Shaun in one of those childcare places that are going broke. Maybe she’ll be able to take him to work. He’d like that. He enjoys quality time.