I can sympathise with Dustin Hoffman’s overwhelmed (or underwhelmed – depending on how you look at it) student …except I don’t have a pool to slink into or an old, comely neighbour who can arch their leg in such a ‘come hither’ way.
To digress slightly… wouldn’t an English version have been funnier, it would have been a proto-Hugh grant, dealing with disappointment in a ‘see hear!’ and ‘oh, bollocks’ kind of way. Oh, wait. That would be a bit rubbish wouldn’t it?
Well… to get back to the point. On June 25th. I think. I graduated. I think, I think, I saw a ceremony. I’m sure I did. I know I did. And it was a bizarre one at that. It involved all sorts of ancient rituals, and that necessary language to make the ritual seem less out of place; Latin (but, of course). And kneeling. And a sense of immense happiness and sadness all at once.
The happiness, well that comes with surviving three years and having something to be proud of at the end. Not just the piece of paper that says I’m a BA. But, to go all american indie movie on you, the memories and experiences. That’s where the sadness comes in. Some parents might have already said to their kids, ‘don’t be too grumpy about the work, it will be over before you know it, and yes they really are some of the best days of your life.’ So, at a ceremony that celebrates three years of achievements, you’re bound to get a bit reflective. And tearful.
It began at an unholy hour. And I say unholy, cause any hour in the ‘am’ sphere, after a graduation dinner thats before the picture and the pomp and circumstance (thus wholly ridiculous), is so-called. I got out of bed for a re-tread of matriculation, except it was a beginning of the end kind of day. We lined up, for Japanese tourists and our Master, and we were led out the gate to claps of the staff, other students and college members. It was nice. Really nice. I realised what it meant to be a ‘member’ of the college, not just a student attending.
We were poked, prodded and cajoled into rows of 4s – mini crews to bond with, as the ‘w’s’ graduated within a graduation together. Next came the part from outta space, or rather from the history books, even if it did involve a ‘Master’. This one was not an alien evil overlord, but the head of our college, and she would be conferring our degree upon us. We were lead up to her in our little cluster by the pre-locator , wait for it, as we pulled his fingers. Each of us getting one to hold onto, lest we loose our way in front of proud parents in the Senate House. I haven’t even reached 11 on the weird dial yet. Then one by one, we kneeled in front of her, maintaining an awkward balancing act as she spoke in ancient tongues. And so I slipped out the side chamber, ready to be dazzled by the sunlight and maybe by the fact I’d just become a BA.
To meet the real world. Hopefully with less world weary eyes then Ben Braddock. With or without seeing it all through Mrs. Robinson’s triffic triangular arched leg.