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Faculty of Education and Arts - Student speaker

Janelle Ryan

Sunday, 28 September 2008, 1.00pm

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Graduates. It is with great honour that I am standing here to speak on behalf of the student body, but I think I would have preferred be in charge of the photography.

For a long time I never thought there was anything for me at university. And strangely, my decision to start a degree actually came after I quit my job and went on the road with a band overseas. I had an amazing opportunity to photograph the band at some rather large events and although I did not want to be a music photographer, I did want to find out what more photomedia had to offer.

Although my parents had concerns about my job prospects from studying Photomedia, this was far outweighed by their sheer excitement about me actually attending university.

As much as it is a cliche, I am sure I can speak for my fellow graduates when I say university has changed my perceptions of the world and my outlook for the future. Each year and even each semester brought with it, new experiences, new aspirations and newfound success.

During the time of my university degree, I was the poorest I had ever been; yet my good fortune never seemed to make this a problem.

I know for me I truly discovered my potential with a trip to the middle east. Afforded only by a car insurance payout and a little help from some loved ones, without this trip I would not have known myself as a photographer. Only a year later there was an opportunity to travel to Bangladesh through ECUs Photomedia program, with those I respected as staff and students. Although arriving slightly scathed after first travelling for a month across India by motorbike, the Bangladesh project was definitely the highlight of my university experience and it really sealed the deal for the university friends I know I will have for life.

The advertising stream also opened up a new world to me, with new lecturers new friends and a whole new way of thinking. It provided opportunities to work on group projects and interact with industry professionals, and has helped shape my career.

We are all graduating today, but I wont be leaving ECU! I liked it so much I have not one but two jobs here! Through ECU and the networks I have formed there, I have employment in my related fields of study, been in 3 exhibitions and been published in a book! More than I ever could have expected and I believe this is only just the beginning.

However, I feel that the most important part of ECU has been the people that make it go around. Here I could mention many names but have chosen not to as I know there are people here with many different majors to my own and all those lecturers I am sure work as hard as the ones I have had in my own degree stream. Therefore, to the academic staff, professional staff and of course to all of the students, you have inspired us, entertained us, and given us all the support we needed to be here today, oh and you imparted some vital knowledge too! So on behalf of all the graduates today, I thank you.

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