*** RETRO POST ***
On Thursday the 13th of July, I did something I will only probably do once in my life... I graduated from University!!!
I graduated from my degree in Computer Science (with a Year in Industy) with First Class Honours. Now as much as that is a good degree classification - I don't feel a sense of achievement but I'll get onto that later.
University of Kent graduands graduate in Canterbury Cathedral. We were told at a 'Graduation Launch Event' - that the whole event of gradutaion 'isn't really for you' (i.e. the Graduand) but for your parents. At the time, I questioned this statement - but on the day... I totally understood.
We travelled down on Wednesday and I took my parents for food at Ye Old Beverlie - the place where everyone's parents take their children for food when they visit - as it's a little pricey for a student. This was the first time my parents were down visiting me. I had the Chicken Enchiladas, which were nice (but probably a little over priced).
On Thursday, my graduation time was 2:30pm - but with my Mother, being in a wheelchair and all, we decided to get there, very early. Now, although this wasn't funny at the time - with hindsight it actually was. Canterbury is a very old city, lots of history - lots of cobbled streets - not ideal for someone sitting in a wheelchair.
After navigating the maze that was the Cathedral, we made our way to Shirley Hall where I received my gown and took a few photos with friends and my parents - refer to the image viewer below to see all the pictures I have (more images will be added as and when I get them). Then there was a lot of standing around, and seeing as it was 20+ degrees, this was very 'energy sapping'.
We then proceeded to the hall and sat thtough the 90 minute ceremony - where everyone shook hands with the University Dean, heard a speech from the honoury doctorate Professor Simon Jones (CompSci proffessor who does a lot of work with regards to functional programming.) Although, he was a good speaker, it wasn't Phil Jupitus or Barry McGuigan - who were also receiving honourary doctorates also.
You can view my whole congregation here (The video below starts at the best time ;))
I think my favourite image of the day was this one :
Pretty much all of my success is down to my parents. Fair enough it was me who went to lectures, did the assessments and took the exams. But it was my parents who were through all the highs and the lows - which there were a few big lows! - and help me get to the other side.
After the ceremony, I was so dehydrated and tired, we only went to Spoons for a meal - after which I went back to where I was staying and went straight to sleep.
Although the day was good, it was very tiring and lots of waiting around. In addition, if you drill it down to the bare nuts and bolts - it is merely a ceremony to shake someones hand (whom you've never met) and receive the most expensive certificate ever. It's what you do with the skills you've learnt from University that will be the most useful - and thats not just the ones on your course... the ones regarding cooking pasta in a kettle may come to be just a valuable!
I mentioned above that I 'don't feel a sense of achievement'. Why do I feel like this? What I'm about to say may come across as arrogance so please don't read it that way - and I certainly do not mean for it to come across as arrogance.
The only reason I studied at the University of Kent - was because I got a place through clearing. I wanted to go to the Univeristy of Oxford - but didn't pass an exam. I had offers from the University of Warwick and the Univeristy of Sheffield - but didn't get the grades to go. The Univeristy of Kent was my last resort. Does a First Class degree from Kent rival a 2:1 from Oxford - or a 2:1 from Warwick? In addition, people I know who go to those Universities mention about how difficult their work was - I din't think I was troubled much by the work set at Kent. But then again , I wouldn't met the people I have done if I hadn't gone to Kent, I wouldn't have got the job I have at the moment. So I don't know how to feel.
In addtion, there were a lot of people who got First Class degrees - It may just be the people I surrounded myself with but only one person I know of didn't get a first - then an article was published by the Telegraph saying that 41% of graduates in my year received a First. To me, thats very high. Does this mean there are more intelligent people in the UK - I highly doubt it. Does it mean that Univeristy degrees are getting 'easier' - so that more people do them - so the universites get more money... I don't know.
All I know is this. I had an incredible time at Univeristy. I met some amazing people, made some brilliant friends and had some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. But now it's time for the next chapter.
Thanks for Reading :) x