Just under a month ago, on 3rd September 2013 I finally graduated from the University of Lincoln after 3 amazing, stressful and very rewarding years. I have to admit that like most people I wasn’t sure how the day would feel, despite spending quite a lot of time thinking about it throughout the 3 years! As well as feeling excited and nervous I also felt pretty sad as this would be the last time I would see some of the people I had spent the last few years with. However by this point I already knew I would be staying on at Lincoln University to complete my MSc, along with quite a few of my close friends which did make it a lot better.
During graduation week at Lincoln, different courses graduate over 4 days (Monday 2nd September, Tuesday 3rd September, Wednesday 4th September and Thursday 5th September) at 3 times: 10.30am, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. As part of the College of Science, School of Life Sciences, I graduated on Tuesday 3rd September at 2.30pm. For me this was the perfect time, as it gave us plenty of time to get ready, have lunch and make our way up to the castle and cathedral.
When you first get signed onto graduation you are given two free tickets, as these are accepted or declined by others, extra tickets become available for purchase. As only my mum and dad would be attending graduation with me I didn’t need anymore tickets but some people brought up to five extra tickets! The castle opened from 11.30am to allow graduating students to collects their things, have photos taken and meet up with others before the ceremony started. My parents decided to stay at my house the night before graduation so in the morning we had plenty of time to get up and dressed, before we began the iconic climb up Steep Hill at around 12.30pm. We started by collecting our tickets and brochure, then headed over to the dressing tent to get my robe and gown fitted. Unlike the guys in their suits, attaching the robe to dresses proves a little more difficult but thankfully my dress wasn’t too bad and with grips managed to stay on through the whole day! After taking some photos around the castle grounds and chatting to a few people we traversed the cobbled square and headed to the cathedral for the ceremony.
When I first visited Lincoln, one of the main things that drew me to study here was the opportunity to graduate in the cathedral, and it didn’t disappoint. Myself and the other graduands walked around the right hand side of the cathedral to the side entrance, while our friends and family made their way into the cathedral from the front entrance. We were then guided to our seats in front of the stage with plenty of time to catch up with everyone on our course who were sat beside us. This was probably one of my favourite parts of the day, as everyone was full of anticipation by this point and we had plenty of time to look around us at the beautiful interior of the cathedral.
The ceremony started with a musical introduction by the cathedral organist and then an introduction into what was expected of us, how we would receive our degree certificates and how to properly become official graduates. The academic procession then entered the cathedral and the official ceremony began with a speech from Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chancellor of the University of Lincoln followed by Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor of the University of Lincoln. Each course was then introduced and graduand’s names called allowing each student to walk across the stage, formally thank the Chancellor and shake hands with the Vice Chancellor, before leaving and receiving their certificate. Although this was pretty nerve wracking it was an amazing experience and is completely worth the effort it takes to get there. Another one of my favourite parts of the day was having John Sergeant present to receive the honorary award of Doctor of Letters. He gave a really interesting and inspiring speech, that I am very glad I got to hear first hand.
As we were now all officially graduates, when the ceremony was finished we were allowed to join the academic procession as they left the cathedral. We all gathered outside the cathedral before heading back over to the castle for photos and drinks in the celebration marquee. We also stopped off at the photography stand where my mum and dad brought the photo of me shaking hands with the Vice Chancellor, which was really nice to have to remember the day. I really enjoyed this part of the day, as everyone’s nerves were completely gone and we had plenty of time to take photos together and enjoy our free drink! The marquee was well decorated and the service from staff there was very quick and friendly. We stayed in the marquee until they needed to set it up for the next set of graduands, and then headed back to mine to change before heading out for dinner at Zizzi.
All in all it was an amazing day, and definitely lived up to all my expectations. The castle grounds, celebration marquee and cathedral were well set up and decorated beautifully. The professional photographers were enthusiastic, friendly and took some great photos of me and a group of my close friends (I especially like the swan toys they brought along!).
Lincoln swans joining me, Lotti and Sarah for graduation!
Later on we also got the opportunity to see the video footage taken throughout the entire ceremony, which was great to see as everything becomes a bit of a blur after a while! It was also good to be able to see my old flatmates and other friends graduate, as we couldn’t attend their ceremonies. The whole day was an experience I will never forget, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year as a postgraduate! 🙂
A Day in the Life…