Anyway, let me tell you a little about Graduation Day, which was yesterday. The ceremony was held in the Royal Albert Hall, just beside the College, a stunning venue with some of the best architecture I’ve ever seen. We were all cloaked and gowned, and each of us went up on stage in turn to bow to the Chairman and shake hands with the Principal of the Faculty of Medicine. With around 1000 students graduation from the faculties of Medicine, Life and Physical Sciences it was quite a long ceremony. Indeed, to paraphrase The Deputy Chair of Imperial’s Council, “The graduation ceremony is like an annual play. However, perhaps most people in the audience are only interested one of the actors, and many find the acts overly long…”. I think most of the participants really enjoyed it though. For my med school friends the ceremony only commemorated our intercalated BSc degrees, and so didn’t have the same sense of finality it did for most of the other students, but it was nice that the long nights and incessant reading we’ve put into achieving our degrees was recognised in front of our families and friends.
During the ceremony, winners of various prizes were celebrated with applause, and during the cheering I’m ashamed to say that the green monster came out in me. There was a prize for the best candidate in each of the BScs, but I didn’t win the neuroscience one. In all honesty, I certainly didn’t deserve the accolade and the winner was a far more hard-working and accomplished neuroscientist than me, but there was a slight pang of jealousy when his name was announced. If only I’d put everything into my work, I wouldn’t be left wondering ‘what if…’. Thankfully I have a chance of redemption with the PhD, an opportunity that I’m determined to make the most of.
Probably the best part of the day (aside from being able to dress like Harry Potter), was meeting friends again. During the first two years at med school most of our time was spent in group lectures with all 340-odd medics in the same lecture theatre. Most of the third year was spent in small groups in hospitals all over London and the home counties, however, and the fourth (BSc) year was similarly spread out. Having started on the PhD in July, I’ve sometimes felt even more isolated. But yesterday was a chance to meet everyone else again, and how great it was.