Monday, 22 June 2009


It was very odd that almost exactly a year after submitting my dissertation I finally received my certificate of graduation. It was also a bit odd that it was half in Welsh because of being accredited through Lampetter - having only ever travelled to Salisbury to attend modules and tuition. Apparently I've been entitled to use the letters after my name since receiving the letter in December but I'm not sure that, apart from in Minutes, I shall use them. Should I?

I'm really grateful to have had the chance to study, with a lot of financial support and time support from the Church - I'm also very very grateful that now I've returned to Circuit work I got the MA out of the way!

My twin sister and kid brother and I both left school without A levels and have all gone on to do second degrees. When I remember that I think it is okay to feel proud of myself and my siblings - we have all worked and studied and dealt with family life. At home doing a degree was never talked about - University was for posh people who lived in private (non-council) houses and no-one else in the family had gone on to higher education. So I should feel pretty pleased with myself - but I can't get away from the fact I'm still not sure I'm really an 'academic', just someone who can get a few ideas down on paper and back them up with the wisdom of other people. So I don't know how much impact adding the letters MA to the end of my name will have in terms of my own self image and confidence - but I know it could open a few doors even though I'm not planning to go through them!


  1. Congratulations! it sounds like you took the same course as I did at Sarum College - only we had no written work to do. The MA course was oversubscribed and so they put on a course with the same lecturers for those of us not needing to pursue the MA degree. We found it very interesting and stimulating. I was surprised to hear that Lampeter came into it! I'm now waiting for the new Sarum College syllabus.

  2. I completely understand the problem about what it is to be an 'academic' - as someone who struggles with dyslexia, and who was told repeatedly at school that they were either lazy or stupid, I hate the fact that some people only ever see my title and never take the time to get to know me as a person. They have no idea how much effort and struggle lies behind it.
    Like you, the Church made me an 'academic', - it requested and then paid for the work that I did and the qualifications I obtained. I thought I was just someone who loved God and wanted to communicate that in whatever way I could. The Church encouraged me to continue to study, to write, to share.
    The first place I was ever called 'Dr' was at the ministerial session of Conference - frightened the life out of me.
    The Church made me an 'academic' but since then I have learned of the love/hate relationship it has with academics who wont stay at a distance - in ivory towers or Church houses.. apparently academics scare and inhibit other people, prevent them from doing their own theology, make them feel small, insignificant etc etc.
    RUBBISH - use your well earned title to remind others that they TOO can study, learn, expand their mind as well as their worship portfolio. That we have nothing to fear from using our brains except the demise of ignorance and the freedom from fear.
    REFUSE to be ashamed of having committed to something good out of the love of God and done well at it.
    Use your MA Micky - to inspire others to 'go and do likewise' so that God's people continue to grow in grace and holiness and doesn't teach another generation of women that holiness is short-hand for having a lobotomy!
    Now.. on to the PhD...

  3. Hi Angie and Micky
    For those of us whose name appears on the front of plans and church buildings there are only really two decisions - letters or no letters - but I suspect we will all have arrived at our decision for a host of different and often very personal reasons. So you can expect a bit of controversy over this one! My advice would be to go with the gut Micky - there's no right nor wrong - do what you personally feel happy with. Personally I don't use letters after my name except in Minutes of Conference. I am strictly MA x2, in that I survived 10 years after matriculating from Cambridge with a degree in Maths (this is the only criteria for getting your honorary MA from Oxbridge - though someone who cares more will probably tell me it's ten years from graduation - I can't rememember). Ordination training gave me another MA in theology. I find it very difficult to "confess" to the Oxbridge thing (and always want to add that I went through comprehensive education) which is a sneaky way of adding it whilst still raising the question, "why should it matter?!" I'm very grateful for the education I've had. It's helped to form me, and given me inner confidence. But if I had to answer the question, "why no letters?" - I might say that to some people in the congregation it would matter too much (and not in a good way), and to others it might serve to distance. So I prefer people to take me as they find me.
    But that's just me.

  4. PS: Having reviewed my comment, I note that for some colleagues there will be no decision to make since they won't have the formal qualifications for which "letters" are awarded. This is another consideration for me in making my own decision.

  5. Many congratulations Micky, well done. Just carry on being the fab you that you are and forget labels such as 'academic'/ 'not academic'; you are intelligent, creative and loving which IMHO matters much more than some arbitrary category. And use the MA with godly pride!

  6. I understand your feelings and questionings here Micky, I did leave school with very poor A' levels due to all sorts of issues including me feeling unwothy even to be in sixth form.

    I am now beginning the Masters part of my programme and submitting my dissertation proposal for November. I find myself in a strange place, but like you count myself privileged to be here ( thanks to the Church).

    Am I an accademic? No I am me, as for letters if I get there, no I won't use them day be day, but there will be times....

  7. Congratulations on your success and on yor added learning.