Saturday, November 17, 2007


This Thursday was my graduation ceremony. Here are some highlights;

  • I got a special gift!
  • We had a family fall-out
  • My gown got trapped under someone's chair
  • We ate dinner in a posh Italian restaurant and got v drunk

I didn't particularly want to attend the graduation ceremony. My dad wanted me to. He said if I didn't go I'd have no 'closure'. Whatever that means. So I painted a smile on my face and nodded and agreed to go after all. It was unfortunate that I didn't know a single other soul who would be there. Indigo was supposed to go but had decided at the last minute not to and everybody else on my course had graduated in July. Suffice to say I was not particularly looking forward to the day.

The first sign that things were going wrong came even before I woke up. I had had a dream that I was up on stage receiving my parchment when I suddenly realised I had no make-up on. This is a recurring nightmare; it's similar to the naked-at-school nightmare because when you have an angry, bright red rash across your nose and you must wear camouflage make-up to hide it then it's preferable to turn up naked on stage than with a rudolph-the-reindeer nose. Normally my nightmare continues with me panicing and trying to find my make up and a mirror, but this time the entire audience began laughing at me. I looked out at them, shielding my eyes from the bright stage lights, and they weren't people, they were clowns.

I am terrified of clowns.

So the day didn't exactly start with an encouraging bang to say the least.

Things did brighten up however, when my lovely, dear, sweet parents surprised me with a gift. I hadn't been expecting anything, we've been a little low on cash recently - or so I thought - what with buying a new car and not selling the old Ford Puma and my trips to and from Paris etc and frankly gifts hadn't crossed my mind. My dad handed me a beautifully wrapped box with a bow tied around it, and I unwrapped it, being careful not to rip the cream paper (Yes I'm one of those people). The box was large and a beautiful creamy blue and as I turned it over I read the word Gucci. Inside was a beautiful, fragile white gold watch with one tiny diamond on the face. It was so detailed, so sweet, even the bolts had little G's on them! I was overwhelmed. I've never had a Gucci watch before. When I was 13 my Dad bought me a fake one while on holiday in Greece and I thought I was the bee's knees. But that was back in the day. Now I'm not a big fan of top designer names such as Gucci and Armani, simply because the way people tend to choose an Armani / Gucci item just because it's designer really irks me. But I like this watch - I love this watch - because it doesn't shout out look at me! I'm wearing Gucci dahling I'm fabulous and rich. It's just a beautiful watch that just happens to be made by Gucci. Anyway, it is a wonderful gift, and it really showed me how proud of me my parents are for managing to graduate after all that I had to go through at the same time.

For those that know Edinburgh, the ceremony was held in the Festival Theatre, which was lovely, but really far too small for so many people. The place was completely overcrowded and people were taking photos and everywhere I stood I was in the way. It gave me a huge ball of firey rage inside my stomach and so I spent most of the time before the ceremony clenching my fists and making bloody half moon crescents in the palms of my hands.

Just before we were allowed to enter the theatre to take our seats, dad went missing. He just disappeared. One minute he was behind me, getting annoyed with the crowds and uttering profanities and such, the next minute he was gone. Mum and I had to hold hands while we squeezed our way through the mass of people - everyone was so sweaty it felt like the crowd was lubricated for super sticky gliding - until eventually we found dad standing in a corner. His face was red and contorted and he was angry. I was too. We all had an argument and I left them in a big bad mood. God I didn't even want to be there. How dare they make this miserable day even more miserable! And I stomped off to the theatre where I took my seat and sat like a Norma No-Mates.

If you are planning to go to a graduation ceremony take it from me - don't bother. Mine lasted two hours - although it felt like two weeks - and was the most boring thing ever. I had to squirm and fidget all the way through it because I had lost all feeling in my bum after having to sit in a hard seat for so long. I can't even think of a strong enough word to describe how boring ithe ceremony was. I feel sleepy and bored just thinking of what it was like. Just don't bother going, take my advice and don't waste two precious hours of your life sitting on a seat listening to the life story of some honours graduate. Because that is what happened. First of all the chancellor was new and was being - I'm not sure if this is the word - inaugurated so we were told his life story and then he made a speech. Then they dressed him in gowns and it was kind of creepy - too ceremonial, it was like a cult - but funny at the same time because it reminded me of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat (this then happened all over again for two other people who were honoury students). Finally the calling of names and shaking of hands and handing out of parchments began, but there were about 500 graduans to get through!


As I was told to join the queue to go up on the stage I stood up, nervous, and realised I couldn't actually move. I looked down and realised that my graduation gown was trapped in the bolts of the seat next to mine! Oh hell, how embarrassing! It took three ushers to help prise my gown free, by which time there was a huge queue of students behind me, watching and waiting for me to advance forward to the stage stairs. I climbed the steps shakily, with a burning face and tried my best to appear calm. There was a camera trained on every student as their name was called, which projected itself onto a large cinema screen on stage, and the camera followed the graduan as they walked across the stage to applause, shook hands with the chancellor and then collected their parchment. I so did not want to be on camera. In front of all these people, with a chubby steroid moon-face and a rash on my nose - not to mention the fact that I have the most awful forced grin when nervous. But my name was called; "For the award 'Bachelor of Arts with Honours Languages and Tourism', [Princesse Ecossaise]" and I stepped forward. I felt like I was walking in slow motion, the stage had seemed small when looking at it from the audience's perspective, but now that I was walking across it it seemed miles long. Like walking through water, I slowly arrived in front of the chancellor, I grinned at him - probably too much because he did look a little scared - and he said something although I have no recollection of what it was, probably 'congratulations' or something like that. I then walked in slow motion again to the end of the stage where I was given my parchment, clattered down the stairs in my too-big-for-me high heels and that was it. I don't even remember the applause. I don't remember anything except thinking how slow I was walking.

Two or three hideously long hours later, me and my parents met my brother in a posh Italian restaurant and made utter fools of ourselves as we drank like fish. Well, my brother had a hangover so he was mainly sticking to water, but the rest of us got well and truly bladdered. And God we needed it. We spent three hours at lunch where we finally tumbled out the doors - me in my stocking feet and no shoes and a tiny cocktail umbrella in my hair from my ice cream.

I'd like to say it was a good day. But it was just plain stressful. And by the time I got home that evening, shattered, full-bellied and ready for bed, I found a letter buried in the mail addressed to me.

"Dear Miss [Princesse Ecossaise],

Your student loan due for repayment is a total of £3353.88

Student Loans Company LTD"

Goodbye irresponsible fun-loving student, hello debt-owing unemployed adult...


Zhu said...

I wish I had a graduation party, no matter how boring... you know in France, we don't get anything. So after 5 years of university, I learned from the secretary that I graduated, "thank you byebye", and I got the actual diploma paper a year later by the mail.

Oh well. That's Langues'O, Paris...

Anyway, you got a great gift ;)

Ghosty said...

LOL talk about closure! I didn't get a party either, I went to my graduation (which thankfully wasn't as hot and overcrowded as yours but equally long and boring), only to go home and have another day the next day. Uh-huh, no party, no present, nothing. So, at least you got to go out and get hammered. :)

And, I like the signature at the end of your posts! Nice idea, I was thinking of doing something similar ... but bah, now you've gone and usurped it. :P

ColbyPants said...

On the bright side Princesse, at least you have the degree. I have the student loans to pay, but I havent finished the schooling yet :-(.

Graduations are awful though. I didnt even want tot go to my HS one. Best story I got though is a good Buddy of mine graduated from The Ohio state University a few years back and the guest speaker was the President of the US (the college is so big they hold suner graduation in the football stadium). He said the graduation was amazingly dull so he spent the time counting as many secret service snipers as he could find.

Good Times :-|


Jane said...

WooHoo! Congratulations, now that the dust has settled does it feel like a weight has been lifted yet? A whole new chapter of your life can begin now.

By the way, I think you may have been at the same ceremony as my other half was supposed to be at. He decided not to go a while back, but I hear through the grapevine he got a special mention, and as painful as the day sounds to have been, part of me wishes I'd been there! I could have been whooping and cheering for you too!

Anyway, if your day was made any longer or more frustrating by a small bunch of psychiatric nurses (and one in particular I hear made quite a t*t of himself crossing the stage!) you have my sympathies.

At least it's all over now, and you should be so proud of yourself.
We all are.

Zannie said...

Eugh, my graduation was equally disappointing a couple of weeks ago. Like you, everyone else was either doing other things at uni so hadn't graduated yet or had done so in June so I was also a Norma No-mates. I also nearly fell off the stage at the end. Managed to sort of gather myself before I fell flat on my face though. Stupid shoes. The worst bit for me though was the pictures after it -have you ever seen that Friends where chandler can't pose for the camera? That's totally me.
However, there were a few of highlights to my day, firstly, a very pretty rotary watch from the parents, the hugest bunch of flowers ever from venzo and a champange cocktail at the end of it all!

sylvie d said...

Oh you have just shattered any dreams I had about graduation ceremonies! As Zhu said we don't get nothing here....a total non event!
Well congratulations to you anyway ;-) post pictures!!!

sugar007 said...

Congrats you!! It is all over but I envy your student loan debt, my balance is still way more than that and I have been paying it back since 2002.

But you have done it!! Woohoo

Despina said...

Funny, funny post. I loved it, you made me laugh out loud (again). All so true!

Loving the new flickr photos by the way xxx

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Zhu & Sylvie I had no idea that in Frace you don't get any graduation or ceremony or anything! How odd, and a little sad for those who would enjoy the whole 'closure' thing my dad was on about! And the fact that you had t wait a year Zhu before you got your diploma in the mail is not good - although it is very typical of France's administration!

Ghosty I do apologise for having got there first with the signature! :-p Hehe

Tom omg man! I think I would die of embarassment if the prime minister had been at my ceremony, but I highly doubt there would have been any secret service snipers there even if he was....ahh only in the states.

Jane! the weight has indeed lifted but I only wish I could use the fast forward button to get my health fully improved so I could REALLY begin a whole new chapter in m life! And maaaaan that's hilarious if it was the same ceremony!! What a coincidence! Well, your man didn't miss anything exciting (although I think I know exactly what group of psychiatric nurses you're talking about!) but funny - would have been great had you wooped for me - no one else did ha!

Oooh Zannie hark at us with our fancy watches eh!! And we are such Norma nae pals, us sitting on our own at our graduations...poo for us.

Sugar you poooooooor thing! I thought I was unlucky with my student loan debt but I didn't realise other people had it higher. I thought it was the same amount for everybody! (maybe it is like that only in Scotland and not England?)

Despina glad you like the photos honey, they're mostly quite old and mostly me posing!!