It was our graduation ceremonies at Keele last week. I’ve always found graduation to be strange and anticlimactic. It is happy, but the graduands are dealing with family and friends unfamiliar with campus and what it is like as well as celebrating their considerable achievements over the past 3 or more years; sad because the graduands are in their final moments of being students before hitting the ‘real world’; fun because all the stress of final exams, handing in assessment and associated course admin is over; and probably quite stressful because the staff like to put on a good show and the graduands have to deal with family, friends and staff in one room (perhaps even with baby stories!).
By virtue of starting my job on April Fool’s Day, this is the third graduating class I’ve seen but the first where I really knew the students and taught them in the lecture theatre. Next year will be the first class that I’ve seen walk in the door to register on day 1 of week 1 of semester 1 of year 1, and I will hopefully see them walk out again as graduates. This years bunch were according to many of my colleagues one of the more memorable years (and that does no disservice to any other years). My door has been covered in post-it-notes three times in the last 2 years, I’ve had students in my office with everything from light sabres to serious questions about ‘stuff’ (references, jobs, course work…). I will be truly surprised if I ever teach a class of similar size that are noisier than the class of 2010 were though!
It isn’t easy being a graduate this year or indeed in any recession year, and the media are doing their best (worst?) to frighten people about job prospects etc. I have nothing sensible to offer on the topic of graduate prospects but I wish them all the very best. Luck? Perhaps, but the class of 2010 are a talented bunch of people and they’ll do well.