The third circle of hell

May 21 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

I think if Dante were alive today his third circle of hell would be an endless graduation ceremony. There would be speaker after speaker trotted up to deliver an endless monologue of crappy metaphors for life. It would be conducted outside in the blazing heat and everyone would be wearing black polyester from head to toe.

Boy, do I love graduation.

For the students this is a big deal. I get that. When I was graduating from university it was a big deal to me too. And although I was massively hung over, sitting in the rain and listening to an interminably bad speech, it was still a good day. I got to make sarcastic comments the whole time (a la Mystery Science Theater 3000) and got to spend one last day with a lot of friends together before we dispersed.

As a grad student I was gone. By the time graduation rolled around I was already doing a postdoc in a different location and wasn't interested in going back to have someone place a hood on my head. Thanks, but send the diploma. The graduation novelty wears off pretty quickly.

These days I am "encouraged" to go to graduation at least once a year! We normally get a pass on the smaller winter graduation, but for the spring one we are actively "reminded" to be there. Last year I was traveling over the graduation weekend, but this year I didn't arrange my schedule well and I will be here to attend my first professorial graduation. Yay....

I understand how bad it would look if none of the faculty showed up and I will begrudgingly take my place in the procession, but I can't say I am looking forward to it. There will be students graduating who took my class (although a couple who expected to won't be, unfortunately), which will add some familiarity to the proceedings, but the undergrads who have worked in my lab and whom I have gotten to know better, still have more time here. To make thing more exciting, the President has added another half hour to the schedule this year. Thanks big guy!

I may have to employ some academic version of slipping a comic book into a text book. I wonder if the graduation handout will be thick enough to disguise a couple of articles I need to read. Will people wonder why I am so intent on examining the schedule of events and the list of graduates? Can I figure out how to put movies on my Iphone and arrange my goofy hat to hide the earpiece?

There has to be some way to make the graduation ceremony tolerable.

17 responses so far

  • Professor in Training says:

    Take your iPhone with you. At our recent graduation ceremony, I made the very grave mistake of wearing clothes that didn't have pockets and didn't take my phone ... should have stored the damned thing in my hat. Won't be making the same mistake next time and plan to sew a couple of compartments into my regalia. Almost all of the faculty were playing games, emailing or sleeping. I watched Dept Chair get through several levels of Tetris.

  • Eugenie says:

    Heck, I found my graduation pretty damn boring. At least they crammed us in the ice rink (they had the chillers on). Sadly, no ice, although it would have made the ceremony that much more interesting.We did get posters (in nice cardboard tubes) that were pretty handy in beating each other while we waited....

  • keelyellenmarie says:

    I only went to my graduation ceremony because my parents wanted to see it. I saw several fellow graduates with ipods and felt really stupid for not doing that myself.

  • Ink says:

    So loving the Dante reference.Maybe what you need is a television watch.

  • tideliar says:

    iPod & Nature podcast = teh winiPod & The Angry & Cliff podcast = inopportune gigglesI had to attend my PhD graduation. Mum and dad used it as an excuse to take a vacation, and my advisor made it clear that as his first PhD grad attendance was mandatory, for his sake, if not mine.

  • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    I have a friend who went to her PhD graduation ceremony only as part of a deal with her parents that meant she wouldn't have to produce grandchildren.I said I'd only go to mine if my parents or supervisor would pay my airfare back from Vancouver to Glasgow. No-one ponied up, so I escaped 🙂

  • Alyssa says:

    I missed both my MSc and PhD graduations, and I was even living in the same city as where I got my PhD (I just happened to be at a conference that week).If you go to the winter one, does that get you out of the others? I'd opt for that since they tend to be shorter, and indoors!

  • Dr. No says:

    I've purposefully attended the much shorter Winter graduation ceremony just so I have a great excuse NOT to attend the Spring snoozefest. Otherwise, invest in a good flask.

  • geekmommyprof says:

    "There has to be some way to make the graduation ceremony tolerable."There isn't. Breathe through the pain.

  • ConstituentOther says:

    haha, I went to my undergraduate ceremony to party with my class. I went to one for one of my masters because that was my first foreign degree. I never listened to what the people up there was saying. It don't matter. 😉

  • Genomic Repairman says:

    Hide booze in your robe, I did when I was graduating with my M.S. and actually shared some with the graduation marshall (a TT prof) sitting next to me.

  • Ms.PhD says:

    I've done the booze thing. It does help. LMAO at the Dante thing, PLS, and the Dept. chair playing tetris, PiT. Thanks for that! Sometimes I wondered if I wasn't cut out for academia because I wasn't that into the Pomp. Now I can rest assured that I wasn't cut out for it for other reasons (see my recent troll infection).

  • Anonymous says:

    Polyester! What the fuck?Doctoral robes have closed sleves. This can easily fit 4 cans of beer in them. In addition a hip flask fits under the hat...-antipodean

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    It turns out that we are allowed to employ a tremendous strategy, which is a win, win. The main part of graduation (where the exceedingly boring shit happens) is done in one location for the entire graduating class. That gets crowded, so they don't insist that faculty show up for that. Yay!Then, each college has their own diploma ceremony, which is actually kinda cool because it's just a lot of happy kids and parents and an opportunity to say congrats to all the students who are graduating. That ceremony is not stupidly long and I found it fun. Plus, I was sitting in the very front row, so it would have been hard to hit the flask. So, skip the boring crap and show up for the celebration. That I can handle.

  • Professor in Training says:

    My robes have an open front and open sleeves (ala Harry Potter). Nowhere to hide contraband. Plenty of room in the hat and once I've had some pockets sewn inside the robe I'll be good to go.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Pit, FYI, you can carry a bag of Dorritos out in the open and no one will get upset.

  • Professor in Training says:

    I'm not worried about carrying the family-sized bag of Doritos to the graduation ceremony but I suspect College President would not look kindly on the loud crinkling during his speech. And I don't want to get yummy day-glo orange powder on my regalia.

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