A family affair: mother-daughter team graduate together

 Elizabeth and her mother Kate graduate from ANU in the July ceremonies each with Bachelor of Arts degrees. Photo: Stuart Hay, ANU
Elizabeth and her mother Kate graduate from ANU in the July ceremonies each with Bachelor of Arts degrees. Photo: Stuart Hay, ANU
Thursday 13 July 2017
Imagine enrolling at university then having your daughter enrol in a similar degree at the same university. Then, six months out from finishing your studies, you realise you'll be both be presented with your testamurs at the same graduation ceremony.
Well for ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) graduates Kate Curry and her daughter Elizabeth, they couldn't have planned this sequence of events any better. Both Kate and Elizabeth graduated in Wednesday's CASS graduation ceremony. For mother and daughter, it was a special moment to share.
What started as an experiment for Kate - trialling a few courses online prior to 2012 to see if she was up to the challenge of returning to study as a mature-age student - resulted in her coming to ANU to study a Bachelor of Arts (History).
"That was my focus, but a few years after, Elizabeth introduced me to the Art department and I started to look at what I might be able to have a go at. The result? I loved it. It's just a completely different environment and it really fed my soul doing that stuff," she said.
"I ended up with the same amount of Art subjects as history ones in the end because I just kept coming back to do more. That's definitely going to be the focus of any further study I do."
Elizabeth, who graduated with her Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts practice), started at ANU a year later. She says despite both of them pursuing visual arts qualifications, surprisingly they never shared a class and only ever had the chance to catch up with each other at morning tea or lunch times.
"We did a lot of stuff together, even just in lunch breaks or morning tea breaks. We'd just go and meet out in the courtyard, or we'd turn up and Mum would hand me something for morning tea and I'd hand her something for lunch. It was lovely," she said.
Despite the separation times during class, both say they felt as though they were studying "together".
"We carpooled a lot when we could and we had classes on the same day. It was really lovely, it was a nice way to do it," Kate said.
"We didn't feel as though we were in each other's way or anything."
"We've always been like-minded so it just worked really well," Elizabeth said.
Both mother and daughter have plans to resume postgraduate studies at ANU in 2018.
"I am looking at doing a coursework Masters so I'm just looking at how I go about applying for that," Kate says.
"I just can't decide whether I want the focus to be textiles or painting at the moment! It's a pretty good dilemma to have!"
Three months of Elizabeth's next semester before she begins her honours degree will be taken up as a graduate-in-residence at the ANU School of Art & Design.
"It'll give me access to the workshop so I can continue my projects but I'll also have the chance to mentor some of the other students."
As for their advice for other would-be parent-child teams looking to come to ANU to study at the same time?
"Do it! If you do it together, you've got someone to encourage you and to keep things on track, to bounce ideas off. So I think it probably makes the experience a bit easier because it you've got someone that you already know who's going through the same thing at the same time," Elizabeth said.
"And a shared experience is always a deeper experience I think," Kate said.
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Updated:  13 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications