Friday, 4 November 2011

My Graduation, or The Missing Cufflinks Débâcle

05:55 Wake up. Or, more accurately, emerge from a day-long anxiety trance and stumble into a shirt and tie.

06:15 Notice my shirt is missing one crucial element: buttons or cufflinks. With no time to find said items, I sellotape my shirt cuffs together with Rymans’ finest 99p tape. Leave tape behind.

06:27 Head to the subway, dragging my girlfriend Laura with my right arm while she attempts to decrease my walking speed from panicky haste to standard urban saunter.

06:35 Arrive on subway platform to find a fault on the outer circle line before the first train engine has even been turned on. Clench my toes, grit my teeth, and hurl obscenities at invisible engineers.

06:50 Get on train. Look at watch nine hundred times.

07:05 Drag Laura towards bus station. Note the disproportion in our leg sizes and get blasted for being too tall. Have a brief argumental blow-up on Buchanan Street before resuming our walk.

07:14 Buy a Mars bar.

07:20 Get on the bus to Edinburgh. Mellow down and resume the anxiety trance. Read an obscure absurdist text that doesn’t help unknot the tension ropes. Eat half the Mars bar.

09:00 Meet my sister Kathleen at Usher Hall. Discuss safety when crossing the road in pairs: if nothing is coming along the small road you intend to cross, but the neighbouring road looks busy, is it all right to cross at red? If others are crossing is this not a sign of safety? Lose argument.

09:03 Go into the wrong door.

09:10 Leave my companions and get robed up.

09:13 Ask my companions to return when I realise the sellotape has not held my cufflinks together. My sister is forced to gobble down her bacon roll while I stand outside like a lemon holding my coat.

09:25 Send my companions off to buy a roll of sellotape.

09:35 Companions return with tape and Laura bites off several strands to keep the shirt sleeves together. I keep the tape in my trouser pocket in case the strands don’t hold for the duration.

10:00 Head inside to graduate with my dangerously talented writing cohorts.

11:43 Graduate. (See picture). Hold cuffs up to prevent the tape snapping off while shaking the chancellor’s hand. (See picture).

12:30 Dick around in the corridors getting squashed and jostled and shunted. Make a choice and ditch the robes. Meet someone who has graduated with a degree in television. We voice our disgust at not receiving a red cylinder with our degree certificates before departing forever.

12: 45 Get out of there. Get on a bus to Craighouse campus.

13:05 Ditch the shirt and tie on the top deck for a fetching black T-shirt ensemble.

13:15 Arrive at the ceremony. Drink two glasses of orange, nudge through the sea of parents and unknowns, endure boredom. Eat a few salmon and prawn canapés and one that looks like a squid eye.

13:45 Fail to spot most of my co-students, then ditch the scene. Discover a squished Mars bar in my coat pocket lining.

14:00 Sit on a bench. Walk around the campus one last time. Close the book with tearful farewells.


  1. My HND graduation was equally angst-ridden- I needed to pick up a tuxedo for the subsequent graduation ball that evening, but I thought I could do it between the ceremony and the ball. No. The shop was to shut by the time I'd graduated. So I got my mum to pick it up for me, then get herself to the ceremony (I'd got there seperately earier). She made it just in time. Was glad when it was all over. Sounds like yours was similarly frought.

  2. Good Luck, my friend, and job well done. It is no easy feat to graduate and then stare headlong into chronic adulthood. Well, there is always a PhD I suppose.

  3. What did you do between 10:00 and 11:43. Goodness. That seems like a long time to wait. I don't even think I went to my graduation from graduate school. Hmmm.

  4. Matt: That sounds terrible. Then again you can always skip the ball. We never got a ball. Huh. I want a ball!

    Jennifer: Thank you! Yes, this is where the terror starts. Unless I do a PhD.

    Chris: I listened to a zillion names and clapped a zillion times before my shot on stage. So many people didn't turn up. It was surprising.

  5. Nicholls, you're awesome! cackled my way through that whole post. Sorry I didn't get to see you properly. I hope we all get together regularly and not just drift off into a sea of nothingness. That's right, NOTHINGNESS.

  6. Indeed. Hope not. That's basically what happened with all my undergrad associates. I'm always very communicative on the interwebs, if not in actual life.

  7. Lovely post! Wish I'd thought of recording that day at the time. It was rather surreal for me, but the best moments are unforgettable.

    And I share your pain about the robes. I was cursing them and wished someone had warned me to get safety pins for them! - Chris (just in case I become anonymous!)

  8. Thanks! I'm glad you had a good graduation and shared my safety pin misery.

  9. Squid eye cufflinks are the new pink.

    Happy graduation!

  10. Thank you, Pink eye. I hope you get that cleared up.

  11. I’ve learned a lot from your blog here, Keep on going, my friend, I will keep an eye on it,

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