Enter the Graduate
No longer a Graduand… Now I have officially been conferred to the degree of Bachelor of Engineering (or whatever the Chancellor said). Yay.
For the people who haven't had the joy of graduating yet let me give you one piece of advice; wear something cool. I am convinced that the person who designed the gowns was an evil bastard who had never done a degree and never intended on doing one and graduating!
He must have thought
"Ha, I'll show those smug poncy bastards with their clever degrees... I'll make them wear a dress and a silly hat with a tassle. I'll make the arms so big and billowy that they'll catch on anything in a 5 mile radius, the coloured sash will constantly slip down and look a mess. I'll make it out of the heaviest, darkest material I can find to make them sweat"
So there I am arriving at the University at about 8:30am, nice and early to get my sister a ticket for the actual ceremony rather than having her sit in the cinema or whatever daft idea they'd had. 8:30, me, in my robes in the already rather warm sun. Great.
Photos, photos, photos… parents and graduations do not seem to be a great combination! I think there must have been an unspoken challenge to figure out every possible permutation of Mum, Dad, sister and myself and have a photo of every single one. Each one obviously taken twice and with the usual thing of "Did that take?" "Did it work? It didn't make a noise"... No, it won't make a noise – it's digital.
Once those photos were done with it was time for the professional photographer. I was just happy because I'd neglected to pre-order my photos before the day and was slightly panicy that I'd be too late. No fear, just walk in, tick the boxes, give the nice lady my credit card and walk straight to the photographer.
Now this guy must be a nightmare to live with, especially if you were on holiday with him. A family holiday must be torture, trying to have a photo taken with some landmark or something would take a small iceage to complete.
He handed me my plastic tube with a ribbon screwed into it (my scroll obviously!) and the spent the next 5 minutes telling me to relax my wrist and move my feet out and head to the side etc The variation in these photos must be so minimal it might be easier to just get a mannequin and superimpose a head on top of it!
Next up, parents. Much to her disgust my Mum was asked to stand on a box, my dad was instructed in how to place his hand on my shoulder and I had my tassle rearranged! Loads of fun!
Once all this was done it was time to mill around some more then eventually go into Butterworth hall at around 10 o'clock. At half 10 (when the music part of the ceremony was supposed to start) a woman appeared on stage and gave us the wonderful news that we'd have to wait another hour since there had been a chemical leak on A45 that was causing traffic delays and "it'd be nice to let everyone get here before starting". The killer line was "Graduands are NOT allowed to leave their seats. Stewards will provide you with water if necessary". What!? You're planning on having us sat here long enough to require water to be passed out!? It was quite possibly the most uncomfortable and generally roasting hour of my life. I was quickly running out of water and there was no sign of the stewards anywhere!
Finally the ceremony kicked off with some rather interesting musical selections (such as the choir singing "oh I do like to be beside the seaside") and the Chancellor paraded in followed by a lot of our lecturers looking rather amusing in their poofy hats (doctorate hats) and robes.
The whole ceremony was rather… well… ceremonial. It was quite nice actually, quite appreciated the formal and ceremonial aspect of it. Though I can see why going to an "old" university such as Cambridge or Edinburgh or somewhere would be nice since you could have your graduation in an old hall rather than Butterworth hall theatre!
So I got my certificate without tripping over my gown at any point and finally shed the damn thing. Very attractive wet back after that, though I was quite pleased (or at least reassured) when I saw the majority of other guys walking around with wet shirts as well. A friend who'd just put her robes on for the afternoon ceremony made the mistake of hugging me, she quickly moved her hand off my back when she realised what was there! Later in the day though she'd experience the same thing!
So ended three years of my life, relatively well spent I feel.
Now out into the big wide world into full time employment and home ownership and probably bankruptcy…