Graduation, this past Tuesday, was an interesting experience. On one hand, the idea of having to come back to Sheffield in the middle of summer, to sit for two hours watching people go up and shake the vice-chancellor's hand, just to do it myself and be on stage for a few brief seconds, did not seem very appealing. On the other hand, the pleasure of seeing a few friends (perhaps for the last time), and of wearing a rather dashing outfit, did contribute to brightening up the day a little.
It was a rather uneventful (in a good way) day: I got up early, put on my suit, accompanied my father to a talk in Information Retrieval in the medical world, which was fairly interesting (since the publication process and information sharing infrastructure is similar in some ways to that present in philosophy, although far more formalised). After that, I went to get robed (well, essentially just get my hood and mortarboard, since I already had my gown), had a quick lunch, attended a short tea-party at the physics department (where the head of department repeated the same speech – nearly word-for-word – that he gave at the end-of-year tea party, with a bit added to congratulate the parents present for their support), and went on to the ceremony.
The graduation ceremony itself was quite agreeable. The hall was suitably air-conditioned (otherwise, it would have been simply unbearably for those of use wearing suits and gowns), and the event was very well organised and run (the marshals were especially efficient). It was amusing to see the bigwigs of the university dressed in colourful medieval wear, marching up the aisle to the tune of organ music. One by one, students were invited up to the platform, their name was read out, and they would cross shake the vice-chancellor's hand and collect their diploma/certificate. For those receiving awards and/or first-class degrees, the vice-chancellor would shake their hand a bit longer, and a few inaudible (from the audience's point of view) words would be exchanged. When my turn came, my name was called out, and I crossed the platform. The vice-chancellor shook my hand, and congratulated me for successfully achieving first-class honours on a bachelor of science in physics and philosophy, and asked me what I was going to do next. To this I replied that I was going to St Andrews to read towards a M.Litt in Philosophy, at which point he congratulated me once more, and wished me the best of luck. Following this, I collected my certificate, and enjoyed the rest of the ceremony. Horrendously exciting stuff, eh?
Anyway, it was quite the experience. The day was followed by an evening of poker, during which I managed to lose a measly five pounds. And the next day, it was off the Japan. Whew!
Below are a few photos of the day...
Here's me, looking suave in the gown (what a poser).
After being robed, outside the union.
Talking to Sarah and Will (perhaps for the last time, although hopefully not).
During the physics departmental tea party, in the first year lab. To think, only three years ago we were being greeted here.
And now, a short video segment of my time on stage...