John Pullinger (john_pullinger) wrote,
John Pullinger
john_pullinger

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Graduation

Whew, this took a long time coming. ^_^ Apologies about the wait, I'd meant to update this thing sooner but I couldn't find the drive to. Sad really, isn't it, that my summer is here and I have lots of free time, but I'm not bouncy and energetic like I expected to be, and it's hard for some reason to actually do anything. Which is why I've been falling behind, a lot, with comments on all of your own Livejournals, I haven't even looked at my friends' Livejournals in about three days, I've probably missed so much, but I really have to focus on getting my life in gear now that I've graduated, getting a job, sorting out my plane tickets for winter when I'll be flying to see my beloved whitewolf_707 again, tying up the loose ends with the Local Education Authority and the Student Loans company, stuff like that.

But yes, the graduation, I get to bore my mateys now with an account of the ceremony. This might be a bit long, so feel free to skip through everything and just look at the pictures. :-D *Settles down into the armchair by the fire* It was a dark, stormy night...

I got to the UEA at about 2 in the afternoon, blazing hot sunshine, a good two hours before the congregation was due to start. I went in, collected my coursework at the BIO office, then went to get my gown. Into the UEA Studio I went, a labyrinth of massive crates, stacked into corridors and tunnels, and found my way through to the desk with the old lady. It's always an old lady who gives you your gown, like it's always an old lady who serves your food in the infant school and junior school dinner halls. I hand over my receipt, and she gives me my prize for four years' diligent study. It was a blue and green bundle with a black cap, and I trundled across to the fitters who were sitting on a few of the crate-mountains. A young lad took the gown from me and held it up so I could put my arms through, then donned the hood over my head, pleased that I was wearing a tie because that would hold it in place up round my neck. He frowned at what he thought was a football World Cup tie pin until I told him it was a pin for academic achievement at the University of Maine (which I later lost, sometime between leaving the UEA and getting home afterwards, we ate at The Whiffler to celebrate, perhaps it was there, though Mum was sure she saw it on me later when we were almost home). Then came the cap, which you put on long-side back and dangle the tassle over your left eye. The gown is open at the front, which was news to me, I'd expected it to be closed all the way round, but it still felt great to be finally wearing it. You'll see for yourselves in the pictures what it looks like, but the feeling of wearing it is something else. I was proud of myself, something I'm not very often, and it felt good.

It was about 2:15 by now, plenty of time left, so I walked over to the school of Biology to kill time on the computers there. The BIO/MTH lab was closed, so I wandered across to the school of Environmental Studies and nipped in their computer room instead, bwuhahahaha. Managed to actually leave a few comments on people's Livejournals there, which went some small way to catching up with it all, and then went to meet my parents and my brother for 3:30 at the porter's lodge at the university entrance. They got here at about 3:40, which I expected; anyone who knows my parents, know they're about ten minutes late, it's either some sort of subconscious ritual they perform whenever they go out somewhere, or they genuinely do keep coming across last-minute things they forgot about and just need to sort out before they leave the house.

Anyway, they park in the field in Earlham Park which had been set aside for congregation visitors, and they take a couple of pictures of me in my graduation gown, which I was still happily sporting. I dump my coursework into the boot of the car so my hands were free, then we make our way over to Congregation Hall where the ceremony would be held. They had to queue at the front to get in, I had to queue round the back with the other graduands. Met David Allen again for the first time since my first or second year, he's with the officer's training corps, spending freezing nights on airfields in a T-shirt and learning how to command troops and the usual army stuff. I remember when America and Britain went into Iraq, he was telling me how awful the American troops were, not laying down covering fire and advancing in steps, but just running gung-ho towards the enemy and catching a British squad in crossfire between themselves and the Taliban, getting surrounded and all sorts. I had to take his word for it, I hadn't been watching much of it myself. But anyway, I saw him again and we caught up a bit as we waited to go inside. Then, we were let in.

Picture in Earlham Park

We file through to the hall itself and find our places, we'd all been given a chair number so that when they called our names, we'd be in proper order. I fidgeted my hood a lot and tried to stay prim, I was nervous, lol. They showed you what to do though and for the most part you just follow the lead of the person in front. The musicians came onto the stage and beat these huge bronze drums, intimidating stuff, and then they let us have it with the brass, trumpeting away as the fancy-gown people and mitre-bearers went up the central aisle to the stage. We had an introduction spoken to us, and then with much doffing of caps, the chancellor and the head of the scool of Biology began calling up the graduands, starting with the doctorates, then the masters, then the bachelors. We each went up in turn, walked across the stage when our name was called, shook the chancellor's hand, and then walked off the other side to collect our parchment. Nervous again, but it was less wracking than I'd expected to be honest. Prizegiving at High School was worse, even, maybe I'd just been numbed by the lead-in and it couldn't get me any more. :-D Then we filed back to our seats, led one procession down the middle after a few more formalities and cap doffing, and went outside again for the school of Biology year photograph on the steps of the square. Where again, I met up with my parents and brother, who took pictures.

Buddies with the chancellor
Looking dopey, it's still sinking in
The dreaded close-up
One with the parent pods

At the end of the school photo, we all threw our hats in the air (by instruction). I caught mine, it seemed like the sensible thing to do since we had to hand them back in to Ede & Ravenscroft at the end of the day, and the poor caps already had blunted corners from where they'd been dropped on the floor before. While everyone was scrabbling to retrieve their hats, I found the pods again and we made our way over towards the marquee where BIO was having an informal gathering with canapés and wine. Also had more pictures on the way over.

Daddy pod
Mummy pod

Saw Matt Greyling there, got to meet his girlfriend from Louisianna. He met her on his year abroad, through the internet I think, as it happens. We'd swapped stories and associated with each other's experiences, since we'd both spent the last year in America, and both of our intendeds were there. *Nuzzles White* After that, I handed in my gown, picked up a T-shirt with all the graduates' names on (I'm to the right of my belly button, second column) and a copy of that day's EDP, which had all of the graduates published in it. Content, and with about three glasses of wine in me, we set off for The Whiffler to have a nice meal, and then came home. Sometime during this, I lost my Maine tie pin, which was a shame, but never mind. After four years, and through many questions about myself and my degree, I was a bachelor of science. John Walter Pullinger, BSc. It's scary, lol.

The degree

It won't get in the way of my less scientific learning though. I'm intent on finding out more about shapeshifting, astral travel, lucid dreaming and all of that half-hidden world that so many of you are a part of. Heh, I managed to upset my dad that night just before bed and make him think I was mad because I was explaining to him about physical shifting. He was sticking to his guns about the DNA being unable to change, and I was asking him how he could be so sure, it might well change, we don't know yet. If you had fur left over from a shift, and tested the DNA, it wouldn't actually show anything because we don't know if the DNA stays the same or not. If it was the same, that's strong evidence for the shift, but if it wasn't the same, it's certainly not evidence against it, so it's not really a definitive test.

It's important to remember that science is a model. It's not truth. I have a degree in using that model, in understanding things through it. That doesn't mean it's the only tool in my belt though, and I'm ready to learn how to use the others, ones like Esotericism (ethereal plane, chakra, ki energy etc.) or intuition/instinct, ethics or emotion. I won't ramble on about it, as I should tie this up soon, but science doesn't eclipse everything else, it's just a model, and can coexist with any number of other schools of thought. It's when you start getting exclusive that you become prejudiced, pompous in your own beliefs, and it closes your mind to the other possibilities. Things happen that science can't explain, so obviously science isn't the be all and end all, and we have to use a different looking glass to explain those them.

Phew, there we go, quite a lot for you guys to read through, sorry about that. ^_^; Time now to take a tour round Livejournal and address these comments I've been sorely neglecting, then to go and help Dad in the garden. I can worry about doing a CV later, as the first step in searching for a job. Oh yeah! Almost forgot: cwtyger, goldeagleradar and bob_the_chimp, your congratulations card arrived late last week, thanks so much! It's really thoughtful of you, made me smile. :-) I put it on display on the table, it's by my computer ATM, and then in a while I'll put it in my cupboard with my special things. Thanks, guys. <=)

-John
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