July 12, 2013, by Malvika Johal

Graduation – and my favourite uni memories

By Tom Barnes (English 2012)

For many, graduation is a formality at the end of three years of boozing, library all-nighters and rushed deadlines. That last lecture seems an age away, and that last scrawled exam answer is already long forgotten. But the important bit is that you made it to graduation, collecting your degree on what is for many one last trip onto University Park campus. For some it may even be their very first trip into the Sports Hall itself, faintly recognisable adorned with miles and miles of plush velvet.

There’s plenty to worry about on the big day itself: getting there on time; introducing family and friends; what to wear underneath a stifling gown; looking ridiculous in a mortarboard; and most importantly, not tripping on that lengthy walk across the stage. For the friends and family of those that do, a DVD is available at the reception afterwards…

As the first of my family to graduate last year, I had mixed feelings about the day. On the one hand, I saw it as the University’s last opportunity to squeeze money out of its departing students in one final flourish; and on the other my parents had been looking forwards to this day for (at least) the last 3 years. Needless to say they won and I went, but over the course of the day my opinions on graduation as an event had changed. I had a great time spending the day with the friends I had made over the last 3 years, and have some quite amazing photos of me tripping over the back of my gown in a mortarboard throwing incident that I’m still not quite ready to talk about. It was also a fantastic night out after, ending in Rescue Rooms at 3am, parents in tow. It was purely unforgettable and still quite possibly the best night out I’ve ever had.

At the Alumni Relations Office, we invited this years graduates to contribute to our ‘Memory Wall’ with one of their favourite memories. Frequent favourite memories include the dizzy heights of Freshers week, meeting boyfriends, girlfriends and friends for life. However seldom has ‘graduation’ been so much as suggested. However I predict that in years to come, graduation will become the strongest prevailing memory of a graduates time at the University of Nottingham. That last day you were reunited with course friends, that day you collected your degree, and that first day as a University of Nottingham graduate and member of the alumni network.

To those that are about to graduate and are currently sharing my scepticism, I’d advise you to put it aside for the day, have fun and make the most of it. Besides, it’ll probably only happen once. Taking your parents on a night out afterwards is completely optional…

Posted in Alumni Relations