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Graduation July 1, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Big things, Durham, Law, Look what I did, Lovely people, Really good day, Theatre, University.

Graduation means movement.  Colour graduates.  Two days ago, so did I.

My university experience involved a lot of sitting in libraries and accompanying backache.  It involved a lot of coffee, and fruit tea, and late nights, and massive books.  To begin with, I thought I’d read the massive books cover to cover and that’d be fine.  I never did that once.  I pulled more all-nighters than I care to mention.  I blagged a lot.  I slept in, and panicked, quite a few times.  I came home at the end of every term and slept for several days straight, and I cried at eleven o’clock at night because I didn’t think I could keep going but I still had several hours’ work to do.

I didn’t get a first in anything.  Not once.

I learned how to paint floors, and walls, quickly, and how to put up lights and hem tablecloths and take in clothes.  I learned to knit jumpers.  I made gallons of tea and cooked for fifteen with half an hour’s notice.  I gave up my sofa, my living room, my entire house to other people, and I didn’t leave my bedroom for three days at a time.

I got drunk with people I didn’t know and regretted it every time, but kept doing it anyway.  Eventually I knew the people and I still regretted it.  I walked on cobbles and down steep hills in 5″ stillettos, and had to be walked home at two in the morning in the snow.  I ate rice for five days in a row, and spaghetti bolognese four times in the same week.  I stayed up til the small hours, drinking blackcurrant squash and playing Lego Indiana Jones with seven or eight people crammed onto two sofas.

When I graduated, I didn’t go to the law department.  The law department is not representative of my university experience, even though I did a fair bit of law and I enjoyed what I did.  My university experience would not be summed up anywhere near my department.

It’d be here, after working on a show with the other techies, all gathered round a table at the pub, dressed in black and grimy because we haven’t had time to shower for three or four days and so tired we’re all getting distracted by the lights on the slot machines.

Or it’d be here, eating cake backstage and trying to avoid being one of the people who has to move the piano and surruptitiously keeping an eye on my props table.

Or else it’d be at a college do, scrubbed up well and surrounded by friends, and smiles, and good conversation.

I’ll miss Durham, and I’ll miss my degree, and I’ll miss spending hours browsing Westlaw and reading things just that bit off topic.  But if something sums up the last few years, it won’t be the law department.  If I had to pick a building, it’d have to be this one.

Back home now.  You’ll probably hear from me more often.  Not that that’s in any way difficult.



1. noddingviolets - July 1, 2011

I love this post. My daughter graduates next week and a lot of what you have written rings many bells. Congratulations. Lots ahead of you. Well done.

2. Roobeedoo - July 2, 2011

Hey girl – you had a good time! You have made me all nostalgic for my Uni days. God, I feel old. ; )

3. Jenny - July 2, 2011

I don’t quite believe that one day I might well write a post like this. That one day I will graduate. Congratulations, it’s been – from the little I know – quite a triennium. If that’s a word. And what a beautiful blog. It made me nostalgic for a past that either isn’t mine, or isn’t the past yet, which writingwise is quite a feat.

4. Fiona - July 3, 2011

Scary, isn’t it? I can’t reread this without feeling a bit like tearing up, actually. Doesn’t feel like the end of things yet. Onwards and upwards… sigh…

5. Lucy - July 6, 2011

*I* can’t read this without tearing up, so heaven help you!

Congratulations! Lovely photos, and a lovely blog. My academic son’s in that top photo. Some things about Durham will never change 🙂

6. Fiona - July 6, 2011

No way! You’re D’s college mum? The course and college should have given it away, shouldn’t it – why did I not realise this before? Amazing. You know he was the one who took me to one of your college formals earlier this year?

7. Lucy - July 7, 2011

Yup, I am! Or was. Or something. Single parent to two children, but they turned out all right despite it all 😛

8. Lucy - July 7, 2011

(Aaargh, would you kindly sort out that emoticon for me?)

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