Graduation Week

Man sollte gehen, wenn es am schönsten ist*, and that’s exactly what I did – yesterday I left Exeter for good. Finished. Finito. But I’m not sure it has actually fully sunk in yet. I haven’t really felt the need to be sad. There have been moments of ‘wow, it’s all coming to an end’, but never ‘OH MY GOD IT’S COMING TO AN END WAAAAA’, if you know what I mean. I think moving to Germany in less than 2 weeks is probably the reason because I’m too busy focusing on the future to worry about the past (a bit cheesy, I know).

* Rough translation: You should leave when things are at their best (Or, I guess, you should leave on a high note… it’s hard to translate it despite trying Google, too!).

But I honestly could not have asked for a better final week in Exeter. In the past 7 days I had my graduation, the graduation ball, a couple of trips to Firehouse, a couple of trips to Wagamama, and basically saw nearly everybody I wanted to see before leaving. I’m not going to write details on every single day, I’ll just focus on two highlights – graduation and the graduation ball.

My graduation took place on Tuesday, coincidentally my dad’s birthday. My mum, stepdad, dad and Gilly came all the way down to Exeter (thank you again!) for the big day, and all in all it was perfect – the sun was beaming down all day, everybody was excited yet nervous, and we all got to hug Floella Benjamin; the Chancellor of the University of Exeter. When hugging Floella, she always tells you something – and more or less tells every person something different. Here’s how my little conversation went with her:

Me: (in panic after she hadn’t said anything 2 seconds into the hug) “..hello!”

Floella: “Hello!” (pulls me back to look at me in the face) “Go and change the world!”

Me: “I will!”

Floella: “You better do, young man!”

Me: “Thank you.. I will!”

So despite my awkward hello at the beginning, it was a nice little thing to say to me. She told some that they looked like leaders, others than they had wonderful smiles, and she even said to my housemate, Anna, that she is “cool, sophisticated and gorgeous”. Floella knows how to throw those compliments out there! It was nice how personal it all felt. Despite graduating in a ceremony with about 150 other people, I still felt I was the most important person in the Great Hall for those 10 seconds I was on the stage – all thanks to Floella. And I’m sure others would say the same with the moment they were on stage.

If you fancy seeing the recorded version, you can see it online: Click here. I come on about 58 minutes and 30 seconds in.

The celebrations continued after the ceremony with free champagne and cupcakes and canapés (which I’ve just learnt how to spell… thank you Google). Lots of photos were taken, and I still haven’t received the photos my dad and stepdad have taken, so I’ll put some on here which have appeared on Facebook and perhaps a couple of the few I took.

Me and my housemates, ready for the ceremony (yep, my hat was briefly the wrong way - luckily only about 5 minutes between sorting myself out before the ceremony then sitting down and my classmate next to me telling me it was the wrong way round... Thanks again, Katherine!)
Me and my housemates, ready for the ceremony (yep, my hat was briefly on the wrong way – luckily only about 5 minutes between sorting myself out before the ceremony then sitting down and my classmate next to me telling me it was the wrong way round… Thanks again, Katherine!)
My mum, me and my dad, just after the ceremony, with my sticky foot (our way of saying 'certificate', just so you know).
My mum, me and my dad, just after the ceremony, with my sticky foot (our way of saying ‘certificate’, just so you know).
The northern crew! My stepdad, my mum, me, Gilly and my dad. What a crazy bunch they are, but the day wouldn't have been complete without them!
The northern crew! My stepdad, my mum, me, Gilly and my dad. What a crazy bunch they are, but the day wouldn’t have been complete without them!

After a few days, it was time for the Graduation Ball, with the theme ‘A World of Pure Imagination’ – Willy Wonka style! I was extremely impressed with how campus looked that evening – the Forum piazza had become a fairground, the Long Lounge (my favourite café on campus) had become an arcade, and the Terrace Restaurant was a huge disco-like area with a chocolate fountain! Amazing. The best bit was that everything (apart from drinks and some food) was free. We had paid £38 a ticket, but that got us free unlimited rides on the ferris wheel and Twister, a free glass of prosecco, free candy floss, free chocolate fountain skewers… it was a fantastic night! And we even had musical entertainment, by none other than Floella Benjamin! She was amazing. Everybody loved it. Everybody chanted ‘Flo-el-la’ between every single song. It was incredible! And here are some photos from the night:

On the ferris wheel looking down on the piazza.
On the ferris wheel looking down on the piazza.
Oh so high! Kate and Phoebe, my housemates.
Oh so high! Kate and Phoebe, my housemates.
Anna, my housemate, and me after a couple of free chocolate fountain skewers, off to hunt for more free stuff.
Anna, my housemate, and me after a couple of free chocolate fountain skewers, off to hunt for more free stuff.
About half of the German Class of 2014!
About half of the German Class of 2014! (Stolen from Lucianna‘s Facebook… hope you don’t mind!)
Floella herself - what a star!
Floella herself – what a star!

And now I’m sat with a brew (actually just realised I’ve ran out so might have to go make another) absolutely sweltering in this heat. I’ve now got 10 days to fit in seeing people and packing… I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Frankfurt, wir sehen uns bald!

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One thought on “Graduation Week

  1. Dan, the comment you put about ‘The Northern Crew’ made me cry. What a lovely thing to say, that we made your day complete!!
    I had a lovely day, you looked amazing & I am so proud to be your Mum!!
    Love you xx

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