Saturday, 10 July 2010

A self indulgent rant about Graduation

"It's not the grade, it's the actual being there that counts ...did you know Michelle from EastEnders got a third?"

Do you ever get that feeling of doomy realisation? The feeling that sounds in your head exactly like when your cover gets blown on Metal Gear Solid? That "PANG" with a floating vibrant exclamation mark of horror, that so often denotes something terrible has happened, or is about to happen. I had that feeling on the night before my university results were due to be revealed. I realised in one horrible wave that not only had I neglected to correct all of my bibliographies, I had even written an entire essay based on a question that didn't exist (I had re-worded it by accident) and had handed in my dissertation a day late, purely by mistake. I was never going to graduate. Instead, I was going to be sick.

For some reason unbeknown to science, I did in fact get a good enough grade to not only graduate, but I did quite a lot better than I expected to. I was pleased. I bought cheap Prosecco and "Waaaay"ed while popping the cork into the garden. I had enough marks to potentially follow studies into pragmatics and etymology - subjects I am geekily fascinated by, and until this point had written myself off as "too stupid" to study them. Happy face prevailed for the next week or so, and I had a justifiable reason to eat cake and drink £2.99 M&S Buck's Fizz (my current vice).

That's all a graduation is though, isn't it? The sound of a door opening. Then you get on with your life. That's what I wanted from my degree anyhow - I hated nearly every second of university, and gaining my degree during seriously tough times both economically and health-wise to me in itself was celebration enough. I had done it. I had reached the top of my metaphorical K2, and now for all I cared, as long as it was down on paper, it could melt and burn and earthquake itself into the ground. My struggle was over.

Now, however, it would appear fresh hell has been unearthed in the form of the graduation ceremony itself. Correct me if I'm wrong, but do I not already have my grade? And so the reason for me to travel all the way to Leeds to wear a cloak and be given a roll of paper is what? I understand that parents want photo opportunities as much as they want a cup of tea every 20 minutes, but is this really worth the time, effort and money? Traditions are upheld for a number of reasons, and generally I am a sucker for all things traditionalist, but in this case, I am lost. I am grateful for my degree, but in the same breath, I worked bloody hard for it, and as much as the University helped me with it's resources and classes, I'd say the split was 20/80. A whole ceremony dedicated to how awesome my institution was, and how great we all are and ooh didn't we do well just seems a bit nauseating to me. Also, it is partly because I can't be bothered to attend. I went to my boyfriend's graduation last year, and it was boring as hell. The best part was the free food at the end. We have to pay for our buffet.

I am being frogmarched to my graduation ceremony on Wednesday, under pretences of it being my "special day" and a "reward for my hard work". A better reward would be a trip to Belize, if you ask me. As for it being my "special day" - everyone knows my specialest day is Christmas. Mortarboards and having my picture taken and having to stand up and walk somewhere in front of over a hundred people is my idea of awful. If I didn't have to go to this glorified assembly, I'd have set off on my trip around Europe a week ago! What an excellent compromise!

I want to know - did you go to your graduation? Was it worth it? Should it be updated? Is there a need for it anymore? Come on, I can't be the only person who hates the idea of curtsying to the dean of the faculty for a grade I already earned and received.


Richard Vivmeister Hirst said...

I only really went to my undergradate ceremony because Cherie Blair was my uni's chancellor and I thought I'd get the opportunity to refuse to shake her hand or something equally Emma-Goldman-ish. As it is, she was 'too busy' and didn't show up. The hag.

Worse, I'd guessed at what my mortar-board hat size was and had wildly overestimated my head's circumference. It looked like I was wearing some kind of new 'youth fashion' wig.

Anyway, I didn't go to my second graduation ceremony. They're very boring. If I were you, I'd go, for the sake of family and whatnot, but get hammered or hepped up on ket. Yeah.

natureisalanguage said...

I hate stuff like graduation ceremonies and would most probably avoid going to mine (If I ever got my arse to university that is). My ex also hates stuff like that and decided she wasn't going to go to hers as it's a waste of money + everybody goes to university these days so the ceremony is no longer special. Which I tend to agree with her on.

Although she said that if she'd gotten a first she would have gone!

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