13 July 2022

Graduation 2022

After two years of no graduation ceremonies for reasons of covid, we were back! Finally a graduation, after the 2019 episode. And this year we would do to ceremonies for our School. The first one for the students who had just graduated this summer, and the second one for the students that had graduated in the two years without graduation.

I biked in in my pragmatic outfit, and something smart in the bag. I walked across the courtyard to get to a convenient toilet in which I could do a Superman trick, and then I was already accosted by several festive people. There was a group of Ocean sciences/underground people, and there was Connor, a PhD student who had finished during lockdown. It was good to see them all, but I had got to my toilet! And then to the robing chamber to get a gown and a hat. There I saw several other Ocean sciences staff; one even intimidatingly so, as somehow he ended up having his gown put on him slap bang in my personal space. I had to escape! But then I could go back to the courtyard. I also caught up with one of the head peer guides who was playing in the band that was festooning the occasion with appropriate melodies. But then we had to go and assemble in the Council Chamber.

It is always nice to goof around with colleagues in there. We are all at our most formal, and the room also breathes formality, but somehow that tends to bring out our gigglier sides.

This season's gown (as a graduate of a Dutch university I get a random gown)

Some fun with Line Cordes and Yueng-Djern Lenn

Then we walked in procession to the hall. I ended up straight behind the Chancellor in his rather high chair. I know I wouldn't see much the entire ceremony! And soon I found out I wasn't going to hear much either; all the sounds was engineered to be heard by the audience and not by the people on the podium. There were some speeches but I could only make out the occasional word. But it is always great to see all the students parade past, being clapped and cheered on, and being saluted by the Chancellor and the pro-Vice Chancellor.

I knew we would also have to sing the national anthem. We were supposed to have a choir, but there was none. Instead there was one chap of whom I had understood from the student in the band he was a member of the choir and who had now been asked to perform on his own. I am sure he did a sterling job, but again, all sound engineering was geared towards the people on the other side of the room hearing what was going on. So I did my best with the imperfect accompaniment, and I could hear more staff singing along than I had expected. We tried!

Then we walked back out, but this time to the enclosed courtyard, for a group picture. And there were so many of us I suppose the picture is just of a crowd. But I suppose it is the thought that counts. And when we were done being photographed I tried to find the students that had meant something special for me, either because they had been my personal tutees, or my dissertation students. But it's not easy in a crowd, especially if all students are wearing the same gown! I managed some, though. But the courtyard had to be used for more photographs, so we went back to the other courtyard. I had intended to bring my gown back before that, but my colleagues told me that the gown rental company head asked everyone to hold on to them as we would be back next week anyway. That was logistically not really ideal for me; these garments are quite big, and I only had one pannier bag. No way this would all fit. But I knew I would make it work.

All representatives of the School of Ocean Sciences

After finding a few more students I wanted to personally congratulate it was time to go to the other building where there would be a reception. I just fit the gown in the pannier bag and took my backpack on my back. It wasn't far! And when I got there I was pleased to see one of my personal tutees who I had not found at the other building. So I sat down at the picnic table with her and her parents. And they even served lunch. We enjoyed that! And my colleague with whom she had done her dissertation, and would also do a master's project, also joined us. And towards the end of the event she was also given the award for the best dissertation in the physical side of Ocean sciences. She is that kind of woman!

I had a meeting with my master student later on so I needed to leave. I said goodbye and found a toilet again to change back into an outfit that was good for biking. It was a hot day! And several students walked past and said bye while I was trying to sort out my luggage. And then suddenly one of my dissertation students appeared! I had been trying to find her but had failed. And she even presented me with some chocolate. So sweet of her! It was very touching. But then I was off. 

It was really good to have the ceremony. All the students are in such a good mood! And it is an excellent opportunity for taking some pictures you might cherish forever. The combination of a gown, a diploma, and a proud parent (or two) makes for very framable pictures! More next week...

No comments: