And so, the dust has finally settled from all the madness of robing, capping, scrolling and whatever other random nouns are associated with the act of graduation.
Yes, dear reader, I've finally graduated. Despite the fact that I've been messing around for a good few months already with work, travel, writing and pretty much all of the real-world stuff that I was going to do anyway, it is only now that Rhodes University has decided to stand up and say, “Right, we're letting you go now ... you mischievous little bugger.”
I do like Rhodes, and I do respect the education that it has given me, but I have little to no tolerance for tradition and ceremony. The justifications are usually weak, and these sort of things always find some way of inconveniencing and/or irritating the heck out of me. In this case, I really didn't want to jump through all sorts of fancily-decorated hoops to get a silly piece of parchment.
Heck, the last 48 hours have been absolutely saturated with unnecessary picture-taking. Yes, it's cool to pose in the graduation gown for the first five or so times. After that, it begins to feel like I've walked right into a certain South Park episode involving cameras, hype and really beleaguered celebrities.
Of course, I went along with the whole show because loads of people were being all super-proud of me and stuff, so I kinda owed it to them to get my head patted by a bunch of academic geriatrics (in related news, I've discovered for the first time ever that Rhodes University actually has a chancellor. Waitwhat?). That, and there were some pretty damn awesome tea parties to go to – I can happily report that these were very well-stocked. I only ate twice during my graduation weekend, and both occasions were munchie-calls at nearby garden buffets.
The graduation ceremony itself was horribly long – about two and a half hours of talking and name-calling ensued after everyone was seated, and this was just for BA graduates. I actually feel sorry for the VC, Registrar and all the other figureheads who need to be in attendance for every single one of these ceremonies.
No, seriously. I proudly maintain that I've not known the sensation of boredom for a good few years already. I always find some way to entertain or busy myself, even if it's just wandering off into daydream-land when I'm stuck on a long bus trip. But the grad ceremony somehow broke through that barrier. A combination of bright lights, ungainly ceremonial garb and a crowd of my peers successfully worked its dark magic on me. And although I would certainly testify that honorary doctorate recipient Dennis Brutus has led a very interesting life – and has possibly the most badass surname in existence – I still think that his speech would have been far more welcome at a time when I wasn't trapped inside an auditorium for several hours surrounded by a gajillion people wearing bat-suits.
Did I feel a certain sense of reverence for this occasion? Regrettably, no. And I say 'regrettably' with sincerity because I'm sure that this graduation really was important to a lot of people. It's just that I can't bring myself to regard a piece of paper or a funny hat as a vindicator of my work and my achievements. In my head, the important stuff happened a long time ago and I've already moved on to do great things. You know, like writing this blog. And bungy jumping.
At least one thing is certain: deep in my heart, I know that the selection of food at the garden party was – and shall forever remain – absolutely awesome.