WHEN Sophie Montgomery dons her mortarboard for her graduation on Friday, it will mark the end of six years of university study and the start of a new chapter.
"I'm pretty excited, it feel like it was ages ago already," Ms Montgomery, 26, said of finishing her environmental science and management degree at the end of November last year.
"I finished my last exam, had a week's break and then started my new full time employment [as a graduate ecologist at environmental consulting firm, Eco Logical Australia].
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"I've just been learning so much since then and really busy so it already feels like ages ago. It's nice to revisit that and be able to have a bit of closure on my degree and feel like I can celebrate, which I know a lot of people didn't really get to experience through COVID."
Ms Montgomery's Friday afternoon graduation ceremony is one of eight taking place at the University of Newcastle's Great Hall over three days.
More than 1550 graduates who completed their undergraduate, postgraduate or research degrees in 2019 or 2020 will celebrate their achievements on April 9, 13 and 14.
Ms Montgomery completed three years of a fine arts degree - half of it full time and half of it part time - before working for six months and heading to South America for six months and Canada for a year.
"I was starting to feel maybe I wasn't passionate enough about fine arts while I was still studying it," she said.
"While traveling we were really lucky enough to be able to go to some really beautiful natural areas. It was just being surrounded by all this beautiful nature that made me start to be more interested in how it works and what's there."
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