Last week I took the last few steps and changed from a Cardiff graduand to a Cardiff graduate, as I walked the red carpet and collected my degree. The graduation ceremony is the culmination of a student’s hard work over the course of the degree and the day gives them a chance to celebrate with friends and family.
Although my ceremony wasn’t until the afternoon we went down to City Hall to pick up robes early so could have photos done, take lots of photographs around the lovely fountains, including with Dylan the Dragon, and be ready for the school event at 1230. Almost all the different schools run their own events on graduation days where all the graduates and families can celebrate together, listen to speeches and where awards are given out to some of the top performing students, unfortunately not me :-(.
After the school reception it was back to City Hall for more photos, including the obligatory one of me throwing my hat in the air. Then onto St David’s Hall in the city centre for the main event. There are usually spare tickets available for this for extra friends and family before the event but if not there is a seating area in the Hayes where they can watch the event on a big screen. As usual there was entertainment from various student societies including the Jazz Band before making our way in. By this point we all were glad to be able to sit down and take the weight off our feet, especially the girls in less than sensible footwear.
The actual process of graduation is really simple, you wait until your row is ushered up to join the queue, give your name card to the announcer and then stride across the stage enjoying the moment to shake hands with the pro-vice chancellor before taking a seat (often different) and clapping as everyone else is called up. The one slight twist is that once everyone from your course has been honoured you need to stand as the pro-vice chancellor congratulates you, in Welsh, before doffing (touching or slightly raising) your cap to him. During our ceremony an honorary fellowship was awarded to Dr Ceri Powell, the executive vice president for exploration at Shell. The introductory speech sounded dull but she was rather good; she kept her thanks short and included some tips for all the graduates present. With that it was time to file out, find where friends and family had got to before saying goodbye (again) to those who weren’t staying in Cardiff.