Arts Stories

Danielle Siemens

Convocation: A day to remember

Danielle Siemens (’13 BA, History of Art, Design and Visual Culture) was one of hundreds of Arts graduates who crossed the stage to receive their degree at Spring Convocation last year. But Danielle’s experience was a bit different than most: her father, U of A photographer Richard Siemens, documented the entire day, and his photos and reflections were shared in this touching video.

With Spring Convocation 2014 upon us, we caught up with Danielle to talk about her memories of convocation one year later.

Q: Last year you received your BA in art history. Why did you choose this as your area of study?

In my second year I had to take a fine arts class, so I took an art history class. By the end of that year, I decided that I wanted to do Honors.

I took art history knowing nothing about it. I think what really drew me in is that when you’re studying art history, you’re looking at art works but to explore things like history and the politics and social factors at the time. It’s quite broad and there’s a lot of room to look at different things.

Q: What do you remember most about your convocation?

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t super excited about convocation…. For me, it was kind of about my parents and grandparents.

But then when I was actually there, I think it’s rare that you have a moment where you selfishly think about yourself and all your accomplishments. I saw all the other people crossing the stage and I really thought about my time there. It’s pretty amazing what I did over five years. Once I stopped thinking about the obligation of being there and impressing my family, when I just thought about myself, it was actually quite a nice moment.

In the end, I’m really glad I was there…. There’s a lot of pressure at the end of your degree about what’s going to happen next, but on that day I just really focused on what had happened, what I’d already accomplished, rather than trying to think so much about the next step or the future.

Q: You were in the unique position of having your dad document the entire day as the U of A’s official photographer. What was that like?

It was pretty exciting because he took me downstairs and I met the President. That was a big moment. I had my picture taken with her and with my dad as well, so that was nice.

Once I saw the video that came out, it was quite sweet. It’s nice to have that for a document because not a lot of people do.

Q: If you could share a piece of advice with students getting ready for their convocation this year, what would it be?

Just relax!

Danielle is moving to Ottawa this fall to pursue an MA in Art History at Carleton University. We wish her all the best!