My mother complained that I haven’t written about my graduation apart from that slightly sarcastic post I wrote prior to it. So here I am with an update on the experience.
First of all, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. We had to be sat down by 10:30 and the ceremony didn’t start until 11:00. That was a pretty boring half hour. But then once the ceremony itself started it went surprisingly quickly.
Unfortunately the person who was reading everyone’s names out made a bit of a mess of it. A lot of people’s names seemed to be pronounced incorrectly. It wasn’t just the international students, which you might understand. But even some common Anglophone names were completely mauled.
For just one example, the guy who was sitting next to me is called Sussock. Not too difficult I would have thought, but he was introduced as ‘Sisscock’. Amazing. I was a bit worried I was going to be Step-hen but I got off in the end. But for so many people I imagine their memory of the ceremony will be this guy butchering their name. I’m sure it’s not a fun job to have to read so many names out, but it was a bit unfortunate.
The rest of the ceremony wasn’t much better, I’m sorry to say. I watched the webcast of the ceremony that came the day before mine to see what I should expect and that went much better. But in my ceremony the same jokes fell flat because the delivery was so poor. And a lot of the script was skipped as well. I reckon he just wanted to go home early!
The plus side of that was that we all got to go home early as well! 😀 And the queue for the photographer was not bad at all — I was only third in the queue when I joined it. So it was all over much more quickly than I expected.
So I got a nice certificate and a glorified giant red Smarties tube. I was not sure about that you know. In all of the photographs my parents took I am standing there with this ridiculous empty Smarties tube. Then of course for the proper professional photograph I was holding a different fakey prop degree certificate. I can’t really deal with these levels of fakeness. In future I will probably just look at the photos and think, “Smarties tube, fake”.
The photos we took ourselves were not much of a success. My parents can’t seem to cope with the digital camera. Every time my mother uses it she asks the same question — “Which button do I press?” Which button do you think? The one on the top, just like film cameras??
But no, she just reacts like she’s been asked to build a nuclear bomb. Once she’s figured it out she waits about 20 seconds and then — without warning — just presses the button. No “are you ready?” or “right” or any other warning to stop looking gormless. She just presses it. So in all of the photos she took I look either confused, disgusted or gormless.
Escapades with the old camera (which is genuinely as old as I am) were not much more successful, so I hear. My mum managed to drop it in McEwan Hall and the back fell off, exposing the film to all that vicious light. Apparently it was in a dark stairwell, so fingers crossed. Later on we couldn’t work out if it was winding on or not. Serves them right for using a camera that’s about to celebrate its silver anniversary.
Then we got someone to take a photo of me with both of my parents. It was the best shot of the day — apart from one thing. We were standing in front of a building site. We didn’t even realise until I downloaded the pictures onto my computer.
It is funny because when I went through the campus earlier in the week I was surprised at how little it looked like a building site — the new computing building is almost finished, and it’s now largely free of the normal eyesores that are associated with construction sites. Yet we managed to stand in front of the one tiny bit that still has building equipment on it. Incredible.
I also look pretty peeved in a lot of the photos. And I look gaunt and baggy-eyed. It didn’t help that I was seriously tired having had so little sleep and I suffering from caffeine withdrawal at that time of the day, several hours after my one and only coffee of the day.
Anyway, I know you are desperate to see a photo of me in all of that silly attire and holding that ridiculous Smarties tube, so here is the best shot of me (cropped because my parents still haven’t mastered the zoom function on the camera).
In complete seriousness though, all-in-all it was quite a strange day. I felt a bit down about it on my way back. I had a very strange mixture of feelings. Partly that I was probably seeing a few people for the last time and didn’t really get the chance to say a proper ‘goodbye and good luck’ in the rush of the day. Partly regret that I hadn’t made the most of my university days. Partly that I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m moving on to a strange and challenging period of my life. Mostly, simply that — despite the fact I didn’t enjoy my time there much — university is over. Bye-bye JSTOR log-in. Seeya later Athens account.
So in the slim chance that any of those people I didn’t get the chance to see again happen across this post, all the best for the future!