The big day came and went last Friday when NC graduated from her university with her degree in Advanced Science. Three years of hard work for her and eighteen years of hard work for us culminated in an hour-long ceremony. The Dean reminded his graduates to go and do what they feel passionate about – as he had, (he turned out to be a Doctor of lizards or something similar) – then he sent them on their merry way with a reminder to thank their parents for the support through their umpteen years of education. A nice touch, I thought.
I’m reading an excellent book called “Beautiful Failures” at the moment, which is an examination of why our school system does not suit every child. Although it may be “a narrow vision of success”, as the writer Lucy Clark describes it – and I more than most can appreciate that description – it was wonderful to take pride for a few moments in an example of its success. NC will now continue to sate her thirst for learning for altruistic reasons rather than financial gain, and that makes me all the more proud.
All those mornings of frantic searches for sports kit, cold toast and tea, tantrums about ponytails and shoes that hurt, as well as early starts for practice paled into insignificance as I watched my girl stand proudly amongst her fellow alumni, resplendent in her Harry Potter Gown and Trencher.
The piss-yellow color of the Science Faculty hood was unfortunate, (and quite draining on some), but it did give us plenty to discuss as we waited for the ceremony to start. Because imagine if the fabric of the hood in some way symbolized the subject studied, we asked each other? Eg. Green could represent environmental studies, blood red for biology, a thick fur for Antarctic Studies, (faux, of course), and pink sequins or velvet for drama or social media?
For some of the Ph.D. studies, you needed a translator to fully understand what the fuck they’d been doing, (other than drinking subsidized beer), for three years. One was entitled “The ecology and behavior of ecalypt-feeding caterpillars in response to predation risk,” which did give the old man and I a giggle and provoked us to come up with our own potential studies.
His might entail: “The duration of time man can hold a remote control without feeling any sense of shame about the survival of his family, particularly during The Masters weekend.”
And mine: “A quantitive analysis of the nagging habits of a female when she shares the same environment of a man with selective hearing.”
The granny knickers were on a mission that morning, after the best-laid plans to buy myself something new were foiled and I ended up with the disastrous impulse-buy of a “mutton” bomber jacket. In the end, I settled on a Metalicus dress that has sat in my wardrobe for yonks that I’ve never had the balls to wear due to its inability to disguise absolutely any content in my stomach, least of all a full-blown time-of-the-month muffin top that is approaching winter and the next few months of “layering” with relish. Suffice it to say, all I could squeeze into my belly over our celebratory lunch was one bottle of Champers and a meager Salade Nicoise.
But the main mission/achievement of the day was to get the photo to splash over Facebook with smugness at our friends, and that was accomplished when the old man donned the trencher thirty years later than the day he was supposed to, because he was too hungover.
I’m joking. This was NC’s day, so here it is. I like to call it “Sacrifice.”