Olympic graduation

I’ve had a very intense day, yesterday. First, I went to the graduation ceremony. The main event was in Bedford Square Gardens.

The cool thing was that, while students, parents and friends had to take their seat in the main room, we academics were directed in the Green room, which featured free drinks. It felt a bit like being a guest on Jonathan Ross' show (except people had better hairdo and nobody cheered us so much when we got in the main room).

Then they dressed us up; I didn’t take a picture of myself, but they gave me a University of London PhD gown, something like these:

(luckily, I was wearing a pink-ish shirt, which was quite colour-coordinated). As soon as they dressed me, Tom, my head of department who was also there, came to me and asked me if I felt ridiculous enough. My answer was no, since I hadn’t put my ridiculous hat on yet… When we all eventually went fully ridiculous (ie hats on), we entered the main room; that’s the “academic processions”, led on by a trumpet playing a medieval tune $-$ a bit like the Palio.

The actual ceremony basically consists of the students marching towards the podium one by one, giving a piece of paper with their name on to the Dean, who then announces it; then they proceed to shake hands with the Provost (in our case it was the vice-Provost), while everybody else applauds. Occasionally, a student would be a bit eccentric and wave a kiss to the audience, or something. This goes on for about 2 hours.

Slightly boring as it was (but I have to say it wasn’t bad at all!), the very cool part was during the Dean’s speech, in which he mentioned our research on HPV! [To be perfectly honest, he had asked each department in the faculty to give him some research topics he could mention, so in a way we prepped him… But still, that was pretty cool!]

When the ceremony was over, I then rushed off to the Olympic Park. In the middle of the Olympics (when Marta was constantly high with the Olympic spirit and could not stop watching, regardless on the event that was actually on), we decided to try and get tickets also for the Paralympics. (We did get them, but of course I forgot that I’d already said yes to the graduation ceremony, which of course was on at more or less the same time).

I nearly ran my way to Stratford and got at the stadium at about 9.20, so I only stayed for about one hour; but it was enough to enjoy it a lot. The venue is really awesome

(as usual, the photo I took is not wonderful, but I’ve already excused myself for not being good at this).

It was amazing when David Weir won the gold in the 1500m. The whole stadium went mental $-$ you’d think by now people would be over this, given Team GB’s amazing results at the Olympics and at the Paralympics so far; but, no: they are all extremely excited! It’s just a shame that they didn’t do the ceremony for this event.

The only downside to yesterday was that we got home really late and I was really knackered. But I’d say it was well worth it!

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