So after spending four years slaving away at a degree, the university finally gave me the piece of paper that makes it real (inside a toilet-roll tube).
Of course, being an ancient university steeped in ridiculous tradition, this isn’t just a matter of them posting it to you. No. You’ve got to get it at a ceremony.
On Friday, Rao Dao Zao became Rao Dao Zao B.Sc. Hons.
The main thing is that you get to wear strange robes.
Yes, robes. A big cloak thing, designed perfectly to feel like it’s falling off when it really isn’t. Graduation is a black-tie event, so if you weren’t sweltering inside your suit already, the cloak really tops it off.
But it gets less practical. Alongside your robes is a hood, that is shaped like no hood I’ve ever seen before. You’re not allowed to wear this until it gets put on you during the ceremony (tradition), so you’ve got to cart it around all day. Except when getting your photograph, in which case you put it on and discover just how impractical it is; it keeps slipping right down your back, or off your shoulders, or both. The girl in the queue in front of me was told that the solution was to “get wider shoulders”.
The ceremony is completely ridiculous. I find it hard to imagine how this was appropriate even back in the middle ages; yeah, they wore robes and cowls and shit, but I’m sure they weren’t as bizarre and impractical as these. A man walks in with a giant ass-mace, some latin singing occurs, some latin occurs, and then the actual graduations commence.
The presentation of your parchment is pretty strange too. You go up, get tapped on the head with a felt cap (and some more latin occurs, quietly), the hood gets whipped around your neck, and then you get your toilet-roll tube with the parchment and a break-down of all your module results inside. And that’s it. An hours of sitting, and almost non-stop clapping, for your two seconds of minor fame.
Apparently somebody whooped me, though. And apparently somebody that wasn’t my brother also clapped for me in the telescreen rooms (he didn’t get a guest ticket, nyah nyah). I’m hoping secret admirers.
Afterwards, a little bit of free alcohol and general mingling and photography, expensive dinner, then get out of the stuffy suit and return to drink and dance the night away.