Impressions of the time|
I wrote this the day after Graduation, so that I would have a record of my memory of the day for years to come. It's interesting to read it now, and see how my thoughts have changed in phrasing in the intervening years. I wonder what I will think of what I write now in another 4 years?
28 June 1997
Graduation day was, for me, the culmination of three years of my three years of University life. They've been full of fun and
laughter, some tears along the way, some fairly heavy doses of stress, work and exams, but I have enjoyed them immensly. I hope to be
able to keep in touch with all my friends in the years to come, but whatever happens, I have many a fond memory to warm my heart in
my doddering years *laugh*
Saturday morning found me up bright and early, and nipping into town to collect my hood. Several rounds of photographs followed,
before we managed to get our lunch, and the rest of the time was spent playing with the fur trimmings on the hood. Mine was a very
old one, with real fur, so it's was particularly soft and strokeable!
Lunch was a beautiful buffet laid on by College for us and our guests. Once we had had plenty of time to settle or nerves (if not
our stomachs) with plenty of wine and coffee, the graduands (those who have finished their degree course but are yet to receive
their degree) were then taken off for instruction on what would happen during the actual degree ceremony. Meanwhile, our families
were left to their own devices, whether to stay and walk down with us, or to head off to Senate House early to be in line for a
better seat, was left up to them.
After much milling around, the Senior Tutor finally managed to get us into order: first those who were receiving a Masters of Law
degree, then the MEng, and MSci people. Behind these few were the rest of the year, since we all receive a BA (Cantab) with little
distinction between subjects!. Four abreast, and in alphabetical order, in full academical dress, we stood waiting to head off into
town, peering fearfully at the few grey clouds starting to appear. Soon, sure enough, we start walking off crocodile fashion, with
each row split so we're now in pairs (We were sure they were going to ask us to hold hands next!). It takes about half an hour to
walk from Fitzwilliam College to Senate House, and we must have held up the three roads we crossed for 5 minutes or more each!
Several families walked along with, or ahead, or behind us, several of whom were weilding video cameras, trying to record the entire
We finally arrived and waited outside Trinity Hall, since we were early, before being marched through the Old Schools buildings onto
the lawn outside Senate House. Up to the main doors we go, and inside we get arranged in several rows, in our order. I ended up at
the front of my row, so I had a rather good view. As we look around, however, we start getting concerned, since we don't recognise any
parents. Once we're all in, the reason for this becomes apparent, as the Vice Chancellor's representative and his entourage are about
to leave. When they have processed out, the parents scatter off to go pat their offspring on the back. Our families are in turn
Once everyone has settled down, the Vice Chancellor himself (not a deputy for us, it seems!) comes in, with his little procession, and
then disappears.. when he reappears from the back of the hall, he is smothered in a very heavy red gown, floor length, and trimmed
with more white fur. Finally we get down to the business! First of all, our Praelector introduces us all with a little speech, and
then they take the first column forward down the aisle. He introduces them (in a general sort of manner) and promises to the
university that they are worthy to be admitted to the degree. One by one, they kneel, and have the degree conferred upon them.
Once it is my turn, our little row of four reach the front. We each have to take a finger of the Praelector, and he says (still all
in latin) that he makes "the same promise to you about these people also". Still, you can't blame them, we would have been there for
hours had they had to say the entire speech each time! Since I'm first on our row, my name is called out, and I get to kneel in front
of the Vice Chancellor, with my hands held out in front of me as though I'm praying. He says something in Latin, which roughly means
"And I also grant you the same degree." And that's it. Done. Finito. I've just graduated. It was over in what seems to have been a
matter of seconds! I stand up, bow my head, and disappear out of the side door.. remembering the warnings I'd heard about the hidden
step. I get given a certificate as I leave the building, and outside on the steps are the Senior Tutor and the Master of the
College, who are busy congratulating the new graduates. One by one we all file out of the hall, and back onto the lawn again, where
we mill around waiting for them to finish in there.
When we got back to college, we had a nice tea waiting for us, with loads of strawberries, cakes, profiteroles, and goodness only
knows what else. The photos taken in college earlier were ready to be looked at and ordered, and everyone got to natter before people
started leaving for good. The rain had held off for all the important parts (ie all the time we were outside!) and it had been an
absolutely lovely day, all round.
- The only photograph allowed in Senate House - the degree being conferred.
- The certificate. Pity it's such a relatively well to do university, and yet they make us pay 25 pounds for a nice one, but ho hum!
- The new graduates!