Graduate

I am no longer a graduand; I am now officially a graduate!
My graduation ceremony was pretty low-key. It didn’t actually start until 3pm, and so I met Littlewing (we made up) in the city around midday and then we made our way to UQ. We went and picked up my academic robes, and then made our way down to the UQ Centre hall. I kept bumping into friends of mine, other people I knew who were graduating. I did a lot of hand shaking, congratulating, photo taking. It was fun.
We met up with my Mum. She was the only of in my family coming. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, and I told my brothers not to worry about it. Mum and LW get on well, so they kept each other company while I went to the pre-ceremony briefing, and was prep’ed for the big event. They gave us each a number, and arranged us in order from PhD graduands, to Masters, to Engineering Class I and down from there. We were also ordered alphabetically in our groups, I was number 76 overall. There was a program with all the award details in it, and in my free time I ran some stats on it. There were 153 people graduating at that ceremony from their Bachelor of Engineering. Of these 113 were Electrical Engineers, 11 were Computer Systems Engineers and 29 were Software Engineers. It’s really strange to think that back in first year, in our first semester, there were more than 550 starting engineers. At the end of four years, only 153 are left. Less than one in three made it through to the end. I remember hearing in my first lecture, “Look to your left, look to your right, those people wont be here when you graduate”, but I didn’t really think that much of it until now. I got through, I’m finished, I made it, I’m done. Now I’ve only got to finish one more year of Uni… but that’s another story.
So after our briefing we all lined up and were led into the hall. There was clapping, and lots of people taking photos, and video cameras transmitting our images onto these big screens at the front of the hall. Mum had asked earlier that day if I was nervous, and I wasn’t, I didn’t think much of it, and even walking in then, with everyone’s attention on us, I still didn’t feel much of an effect. We got to our seats, the academic procession entered the hall, the chancellor made a little speech, and the presentation of the awards began.
It was my turn to go on stage, I walked out, shook the Chancellors hand, heard LW and Mum yelling out loudly from somewhere in the hall, along with a bunch of my friends up the front who were also graduating, and then I walked off and it was over. I got my certificate, I returned to my seat, and I watched the others get their awards. About halfway through it came time for the valedictorian speech. I didn’t know it before hand, but my friend Ruth, whom I had spent a bit of time with during one of our team projects, was valedictorian. She spoke well, making some good points, and I’m glad she was the one to do it. Then the award presentations continued.
While sitting through the rest of the ceremony, I saw someone standing in line that I hadn’t seen for more than three years. I knew instantly who it was, even before her name was called out, she had changed little since I last saw her. Miss A looked as good as ever.
I met her in Multivariate Calculus and Linear Algebra during my first year at Uni. She sat next to me during the first lecture, and I couldn’t help but talk to her. The math was easy, we had both done similar stuff before, and so we chatted the hour away. She was smart, and funny, she liked Sonic Animation and Evangelion, and I liked her straight away. We went out for coffee after the lecture, and after the next lecture too. Eventually we started going out properly, and I was having a lot of fun. To cut a long story short, I got scared of how perfect she was, and I ran away. I told her some inane story, and quoted the last line of Fight Club. In other words it didn’t end well.
Seeing her on stage was a shock, and it brought back all those memories from three years ago. I didn’t know she was graduating at the same time I was (though if I had bothered to think about it I would have realised it made sense) and I hadn’t seen her in all the time we spent before the ceremony getting ready. After that though I saw her everywhere; as we were filing out of the hall, as we having refreshments afterwards, as we were walking back up towards the great court, and right at the end as I was returning my academic robes. I had managed to avoid her almost completely for the past three years, and now I couldn’t get away from her. I actually bumped into her while getting a drink, but said only a few perfunctory congratulations and then made my escape. It was a strange experience, and seeing Miss A again really made the four years I’ve been at Uni weight down upon me. It seemed like everything had come full circle. A lot has happened since I finished highschool, and though this isn’t the end of my University career, it does mark a turning point of sorts.
Anyway, so after the ceremony I didn’t want to hang around, and there were no real plans for everyone to get together, so I headed off with Mum and LW to this little place near Ascot. We had some coffee and food, and talked and then came home. Right now Calvin is over, normal Monday night schedule, and we are going to watch some TV and play some DDR. I’m writing this while we are watching TV, and he just offered to write a guest Blog, so the next thing you will read will be from him.
Note: I revised and expanded much of this after Calvin went home. While doing so I’ve been listening to Massive Attack – Angel.