Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Valete, graduands

That's one graduation ceremony down. It's always a mixture of sweat, pride, laughter and astonishment - it's hot, there's a real thrill in seeing some of the students getting through and/or doing well, there are always amusing interjections from the crowd, and there's always the chance to put a face to the names of students whose attendance was not always, shall we say, 100%. Meeting the parents is always fun too. Nobody's asked for a refund on their fees yet, though when I got my PhD, some of the media/cultural studies students asked if I had any qualification in their field at all. The answer, of course, is no. However, they passed, so can't complain! The speeches are always very dull, especially from those who use the same one year on year. Frank Skinner's getting an honorary PhD though!

Almost time for a pre-match drink before the second go.


Ewarwoowar said...

I'm going to face a backlash for this, but here goes...

Graduation ceremony - total waste of time. Based on what others have told me, you sit around listening to dull speeches and watching people you don't know go up, then you get to go up for about 30 seconds, shake hands with someone you don't know whilst sporting a shit-eating grin, get handed your diploma thingy and then sit down again and endure the rest of it, all whilst wearing some stupid garb. It's a day out for the parents, let's be honest. Send me mine in the post, if I ever get there.

neal said...

I'm with you Ewarwoowar. I can't think of anything more boring in my life than my graduation ceremony. Just watching 100s of people shake a man's hand wearing silly costumes.

The only thing that made he laugh was when me my fellow physicists were walking down the corridor to get on stage, gounds wafting behind us, and someone started doing the Darth Vader music, der de der de de der de de der, and everyone joined in. So stereotypically geeky.

The Plashing Vole said...

Ewar - thought I might bump into you today.
Anyway, you are cynical! Yes, it's for the parents, but I think there's something special about marking your mastery of a subject alongside your friends (and enemies). You don't get many chances to congratulate yourself on a genuine, recognized achievement, so a bit of a ceremony is a great thing.

I've had three, but I'm going to skip the fourth for the PGCE. My first two were at Bangor, which was great. Bilingual, genuinely passionate speeches in defence of humanist values from the VC, excellent honorary degrees. A harpist played beautifully and it ended with a hymn 'in a language of your choice'. Some chose English, many Welsh, and others a variety of languages. Rarely have I heard such a stunning cacophony. One poor sod had his name missed on the list. A solitary hand went up as the ceremony proceeded and they called him up on stage all alone. Despite his average degree, he got the biggest cheer and applause of anyone.

So Ewar - go along. You'll have earned it.

Ewarwoowar said...

Some good points there, Vole. I may reconsider.

I decided to conduct my business via e-mail instead of flogging into Uni, but I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon.

Zoot Horn said...

I have a bad cough in hot environments (As J. Lennon said in 1968, Sir Walter Raleigh was such a stupid get) so I tend to skive the ceremony. However, I'm all for mass costume rituals. It's the last time you'll be together with the people on your course, your mum and dad get to meet your ex (often) you get to meet several exes (more common) there's often a pissed lecturer or two around (oh it's so common) and it's a communal end to what can, in a worst-case scenario, be a fragmented and isolated (especially for postgrads) part of your life. What's not to like? I got to borrow my twin brother's suit for my first one, and I actually had tears in my eyes at my last one as I'd made so many good friends along the way, many of the humanities students failed to stand for the national anthem, AND Julie Christie got an honorary degree. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.