Sunday, November 10, 2013

Graduating from an Oxford MSc. - A Solemn, Traditional Convocation (and some fun!)

Graduating from the University of Oxford on November 9th, 2013 was quite the adventure! Remember Matriculation last year? (It's backwards graduation, in essence - official enrollment at Oxford!) If you thought 10 minutes of Latin was traditional, try 1 hour of Latin and 10 minutes of English!

Two of the points the Vice Chancellor made that resonated with me were:

1) "At Oxford, we do not teach you how to think"  --- Oh that's definitely true. In fact, they don't even teach you what to do. At all.  For example, there were not even really clear instructions on what we were supposed to do at the ceremony. (Check out the photo of Dima and I trying to figure out what was happening)

Dima and Sapna ---confused!!!

2)  "At some universities, the graduation ceremony is 'festive'. At Oxford, we prefer to have a serious, solemn ceremony" (and something to the effect of solemness = respect)

Note - I have no idea why  the vice chancellor, and not the chancellor, was present.
The Sheldonian Theatre

Here are a few bullets on the ceremony:

  • Yes, it's really in Latin
  • You don't get to hold a scroll, or a faux scroll 
  • Your go on stage with about 30 other people
  • You don't even get to be presented by your name, but after a group of names in which yours is included 
  • You are presented twice - once in your matriculation gowns, which you've had all year, and once again with your specific colour robe (mine was light blue)
  • During your first go at it (in your normal gown), the person at the head of the group holds the Dean of your college's hand and then as a group, you all bow to the centre, to the left and to the right, then to the proctor again. Then the proctor says something in Latin, and you all say  DO FIDEM!  (Take courage!). Then you file out and hurry to get changed into your other gown at the Divinity School building before you're up again
  • Depending on your degree (MSc, BCL, MA, DPhil (Phd), etc.) and your specific area of study, the second presentation seemed to happen differently. A couple of the degrees even got a tap on the head with a book from the vice chancellor (????) and the DPhils all got to shake his hand

  • As an MSc. graduate, the second time is much simpler -you go up in rows of four.  You bow together, and then the chancellor tips his hat off/bows his head to each of the four people individually. Then, you file out.

Sapna and Anna
One part of Oxford's system I don't like is that our whole class (24 people) could not even graduate together! At Oxford, you graduate with you college, which is randomly assigned according to a college that accepts your area of study. So...our class of 24 people was split between people graduating on November 8th, November 9th and November 16th. At least most people who left and came back for graduation came for a few days, so I did get a chance to see a few of my classmates again.

Aunty Viniti and Uncle Steve came down from Kent for the ceremony - thank you for coming!!!  Anna also joined us and we all took a few photos in front of the Sheldonian Theatre. We went to Arzoo for Indian food and then I joined Juliet, her parents and cousins, Dima and Dmitri for dessert at Pizza Express.

Enjoy the photos!
Bowing pose! Juliet, Dima, Sultana, Sapna

Jeff, Dima, Juliet, Sophie, Sapna

Aunty Viniti, Uncle Steve and Sapna

Sapna & Aunty Viniti

Sapna & Uncle Steve

Anna and Sapna

All Graduate-d!


Meghan Cree-Smith said...

So amazing!
Congratulations, Sapna! <3

Sapna said...

Thank you, Meghan! (I love when people comment directly on my blog ;)