Thursday, June 29, 2006
(9:05 AM) | Brad:
In AbsentiaSo, I graduated in absentia today. Right around this moment several of the closest friends I've ever had are sitting in a gorgeous auditorium at Glasgow University, one I've only been inside once, when I was paying my first-year fees, but I still vividly remember feeling boom of my echoing footsteps in my chest, which was matched only by the head-swelling pride of studying at a university with such a gorgeous main building. They are sitting there, perhaps bored, waiting to hear their name spoken, their hand shaken, and their degree received. They are sitting there, and I am not.
I didn't expect this to bug me as much as it clearly is. When I left Glasgow nearly two years ago -- Christ, has it been so long?! -- I hadn't even given graduation a thought. This is partly because graduations have never been a big deal for me; and partly because I still had a lot of work that needed to be done before I could even submit. But, in my heart of hearts, I kind of knew that graduating with my friends was only a very dim possibility. And at the time this didn't bother me.
But, wouldn't you know it, it does. Horribly so, in fact. Ever since paying my graduation fee in absentia -- I still owe a friend back in Scotland fifty quid for that -- receiving the official notice that I'd passed -- in a boring form letter -- I've had this distinct feeling that finishing the PhD had been decidedly anticlimactic. (It didn't help, mind, that my examiners told me at the beginning of the viva that I'd passed, and that the rest was just a formality they were required to go through.) I suppose this is the reason for desperately wanting to be in that auditorium this afternoon, bored out of my mind, but also remembering those echoes and that pride, and perhaps hearing and feeling it all again, mine & that of my friends & all the other Arts Faculty doctoral students in the class of 2006, and maybe even getting a wee bit emotional about it. Or, maybe I'm desperate for a double of whisky at my favorite whisky bar, where I proposed to K. and had more than my share of conversations about things like Dasein during moments of intoxication that rendered my English as broken as my German.
Either way, congratulations, Ladies & Lads.