Jubilee Medal - Humanities
"I'm probably UVic's most reluctant graduate"
Alice Tyrrell first came to UVic in 1998, she was nervous
to attend her first class. But it was more than the
regular first-year nerves-the lifelong resident of Victoria
was worried that, as a mature student, she might not
be taken seriously.
"I remember sitting in my first
German class, looking around and seeing all these young
students, and feeling much older. They were younger
than my own kids and I remember thinking 'What am I
She needn't have worried. Tyrrell, who
did a double major in medieval studies and German —
and has won the Jubilee medal in humanities as that
faculty's top student — found plenty of encouragement
and support from her peers. "I've felt so accepted,"
she says. "I've met many friends of all ages and
often they'll say that they wish their mother would
go back to school too."
The decision to attend UVic came in
1998, when Tyrrell learned that all three of her daughters
were engaged to be married. She needed to minimize the
empty-nest syndrome, and thought that pursuing her long-time
interest in German studies would help keep her busy.
"I felt this wave approaching,
as it does in life, and I thought if I don't catch this
wave now, I'll probably never go."
With the encouragement of her professors,
Tyrrell took full advantage of the learning opportunities
offered by the school. In 2000 she went to Germany for
six weeks on an exchange.
Next year, Tyrrell plans to take some
time to regroup, but intends to pursue a master's in
the U.K. in medieval studies. She wants to examine the
cultural interchange between the Greek east and the
Latin west, areas that scholars tend to study separately.
For the moment, however, Tyrrell will
have to adjust to life outside university.
"I'm probably UVic's most reluctant
graduate," she says. "I've had such a wonderful
time. I don't want to leave!"