Random Graduation Thoughts and Observations

October 15, 2011 in On Writing, Study by pacejmiller

I've attended three graduations and we've never done this

I’m back, baby!  I am slowly settling in after the big move and will hopefully be able to post regularly again.

Lost in the mayhem of recent weeks is the fact that I finally graduated from my writing degree.  It was my third graduation and I guess my excitement level was not as high as it should have been as I have become a veteran at these types of events now.  Nevertheless, graduating from anything is an achievement in itself, and it was a good opportunity to catch up with some friends I met throughout the course.

However, comparing this particular graduation to the first one around 6 years ago (also at the same university), it was interesting to see how some things have changed drastically while others have remained the same.  Here are some random thoughts and observations.

For starters, this time, I had to freaking pay a fee to attend my own graduation.  Isn’t that outrageous, egregious and preposterous?  Was it to pay for the gown hire or the venue or the guests?  Doesn’t really matter because there are no excuses for this atrociously dick move by the university.  One would have thought after the thousands of dollars in exorbitant fees collected from students they could have allowed those same students to attend a ceremony that is supposed to celebrate their graduation.  Just sayin’.

Secondly, everything is done online now.  You have to register online and even enter the phonetic pronunciation of your surname so there are no embarrassing mishaps on stage — no doubt a common occurrence with the plethora of overseas graduates.  And did you know that many universities now also have graduation ceremonies overseas as well?  That’s insane.

Thirdly, this particular graduation took place off campus at a function centre.  Renovations may have been the primary reason for the relocation but it felt strange to be graduating away from the place you studied.  No complaints from me though — it was a much better place for photos.

Speaking of photos — man — they are another rip-off scheme.  Most packages are hundreds of dollars and only include a few photos and no frame.  I of course went with the cheapo option and chose an online package where they send you the photos online and you choose which ones you want to save and print.  I’m still waiting for that email…

A lot of universities now also have a semi-compulsory student survey they force you to fill out as soon as you step out of the gown fitting room.  There’s a dude standing at the exit and you pretty much have no choice but to do it on the spot, in exchange for a piece of chocolate of your choosing.

As for the ceremony itself, not too bad.  I expected myself to doze off at regular intervals but for the most part I remained attentive.  I always find the occasional speaker quite boring, and this time it was no different.  I started wondering how much the man got paid for the gig, and whether it was something that deserves more research — surely he must recycle the same speech from ceremony to ceremony, from university to university.  It could be quite a lucrative thing to do.

And what is the deal with the students?  Prior to the ceremony they always have this mini-rehearsal there they tell you where to line up and where to stand once you get up on the stage.  You only need to pay half-attention because you just have to follow the person in front of you.  There are visible markings on the floor so it’s not all that difficult, and all you have to do is tip your hat towards the chancellor or whoever when your name is called — and yet for some inexplicable reason some morons always get it wrong and either stand too close or too far away from where they are supposed to or forget the hat tip.  Makes you wonder how they managed to graduate in the first place (well…let’s face it, it’s not that hard…most students I see when I walk past the computer labs are on Facebook or YouTube anyway)…

Lastly, there is one constant that I have noticed throughout all the graduations I have attended: I have a massive head.  One look at me and the fitters head straight to the last rack of hats, and usually it takes a couple of fittings to find the right one.  And often they are still so tight they leave a V-shaped mark on my forehead.  This time I took the liberty of telling the dude upfront that I had a massive head (like he couldn’t tell) so he got me a cushier one.  Still left a tiny mark though.