“We hope you will not forget us….pause…..and If you become rich or very rich…Pause…. we will not forget you.”
This was the sentence said by the Chancellor of the University of Southampton at the graduation ceremony on 17th Dec 2008, which provoked laughter in the audience. The graduation ceremony went well (though unexpectedly…:)), due to a number of factors which made it an awesome event of my life. First of all the weather was very sunny (Thank GOD no more freezing cold). Second, the arrangements were well organized: How to get robe, from where to collect tickets, decorated halls, wonderful lunch (full of different delicious stuff), and most importantly inspiring media coverage (Thanks to Joyce Lewis and other guys). Last but not the least; we got a chance to meet our old friends, who travelled from different countries especially for this event.
The convocation started with a traditional melodious music, which was appreciably pleasing to ears. Then a warrior (one of our professor was carrying a heavy old weapon like thing) entered followed by marching troop … Music changed … The emperor (the Chancellor) was in the middle of the troop, and really this was a bombastic entrance of the faculty members of ECS, looking like a Hollywood movie (‘Lord of the Ring’ or ‘Troy’). The formal ceremony proceeded with requesting chancellor to admit students in their respective degrees and the honourable chancellor admitted us for the degrees.
Afterwards, the name of every successful student was called … Intermission (30 mins period) … And then I heard a voice …. ‘Mustansar Ali Ghazanfar’ ….Waoo… The audience welcomed me with a big hand of applause … cameras flashes, clapping, …:)… I approached to the chancellor with a sense of pride in my head …. thinking …. ‘Musi, you are no more a Bachelor’ (hmm… I am a Masters student now) …the chancellor asked me about my future and bestowed good wishes. The ceremony ended with the words with which I opened this blog and then we went out with capricious feelings of present success and past memories.
One thing I noticed was that, The UK convocations are more formal as compared to other countries (e.g. USA, or my country Pakistan). For example, while meeting the chancellor, one has to submit his/her hands to chancellor (not like typical handshake). More frankly, one can compare this when one meets to a ‘Sheikh’ (a term used for Muslim scholars especially in Arabic countries, refer to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh), a ‘Priest’, or some other religious scholars. I liked this approach as we should give respect to the honourable chancellor.
Well, this was all about the convocation, now I should discuss something about the Christmas and New Year. The Christmas went good in our group: Christmas dinner party, special coffee and cake party, Video game competition in our lab (Official one, really enjoyable) and then exchange of good wishes for each other followed by cards. The New year eve was boring as no one was there in the lab and personally, I had my dinner, went to bed by listening to music ( … Pause … falling sleepy… ), and hearing some cracker’s sounds at 12.00 am when people were celebrating new year, and I was also celebrating it in a mythical way in the world of dreams…..Happy New Year 2 all my friends!
C u soon
(Note: see my video at graduation ceremony here http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/about/news/2229)