Dan Derricott graduated this year but as he tells us here, time spent watching other people graduate never fully prepares you!
I had spent months thinking about and planning my Graduation. I could do this with relative ease because I knew what to expect. I have been to probably close to 10 graduation ceremonies all in all before my own.
As a students’ union officer you get invited and it was always great to go and help celebrate (and the free food & wine made it even better). Sitting on the stage is fun too, though with the fear of a camera being pointed in your direction you have no choice but to be sat upright, smiling and clapping most enthusiastically even after 230th time.
From that side you also get chance to mill about in the VIP reception too which is particularly good when there’s a well-known person receiving an honorary doctorate that day and you get a few minutes to chat.
I had the parents and two Nans coming to my graduation (neither of whom are as mobile as they used to be) so there were hotels, mobility scooters and rest breaks to plan before I started. Plus I knew I wanted to invite friends to dinner in the evening too; and then there’s the usual gown hire, buying extra tickets and my Mum insisting on me buying a new shoes for the occasion (she paid; I politely obliged).
The plans were all coming together nicely, everything was going smoothly until on the day it was the turn of our row to get up and go to the stage. Now I’m quite a confident person, I’ve been to many graduations, I’ve seen plenty of people mess up, and thought something like ‘what fools, I’d never mess up, it can’t be that hard’.
I was an absolute bag of nerves!
I work in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the university now and know her well, so was over the moon to see her open her arms for a big hug on stage rather than the traditional hand shake. However, I may have forgotten to ‘doff’ my cap to the Pro-Chancellor so probably haven’t technically graduated and then couldn’t stop shaking for a couple of minutes after from a mix of adrenaline, nerves and seeing the faces of my family about to burst on my way off the stage.
Being a guest at graduation as an SU Officer could never have prepared me for the immense emotion of gradating myself. I felt such pride that day both in my own achievements and in the fact that I was graduating from Lincoln. It’s such a special place with amazing people, both staff and students. I’m glad I get to stick around and work here now!
To those that follow our year group – one simple message: give university absolutely everything you’ve got; both ‘in the classroom’ and outside of it! Trust me; the feeling at the end makes it all so worth it! (even if you do forget to doff!)