It was 13:30 when I entered Centennial Centre and rushed to pick up my gown and academic cap. I was supposed to be there at 13:00 and couldn’t believe that I was so late on the most important day of my life. When I saw a long line of students waiting for their turn and a very well-organized staff guiding the whole process, I was relieved.
But, then, nervousness gripped me with an irrepressible force and I couldn’t help thinking that, I might fall on stage –only, because I was wearing shoes with heels. Heels and I are usually the worst of enemies and avoid each other like plagues. This golden rule was set when falling became a custom, each time I slipped into my unwanted heels. However, heels were mandatory on such an important occasion – at least, according to my friends and colleagues.
We then lined up two by two and made our way toward the ceremony hall. As we climbed the stairs, enthusiastic applause followed. Proud parents and family members were clicking and clicking and clicking trying to immortalize this once-in-a-lifetime event. I smiled when my walking partner commented that she feels like a movie star. I felt the same too as if we have achieved the impossible and now the world is at our feet. However, this feeling will always remain inadequately described, meant only to be felt.
I presume that I clapped the loudest when Professor Julian Davies was conferred the honorary degree (Doctor of Science, honoris causa). In addition of being an excellent orator, he is humorous and gave an advice which is of primary importance – to wash our hands with soap and warm water as frequently as we can. It sounded like a funny statement, but on the other hand, washing our hands can decrease a consequent load of bacterial infections. I have started washing my hands more frequently.
Thinking about it, grad life was a roller coaster of bittersweet memories that shaped my life, personality, mind, attitudes and if need to be repeated, I’ll embrace it again. I did flashback on long hours, working relentlessly in the lab where techniques were failing and I had to repeat procedures several times. But then, surges of happiness when I was awarded a long sought scholarship and my paper finally got accepted in the journal of my choice, with the strong editing skills of my better half, Bushansingh Shyam Baurhoo, also a McGill graduand.
In the end, wearing my convocation gown and academic cap, I was deliriously happy and proud to have graduated from an elite university alike McGill. Being a McGillian did contribute hugely in securing my job.
And no, I did not fall…
However, my academic cap did kiss the stage. A generous soul retrieved my cap and I continued my walk down stage, unflawed, with a smile on my face.
neerusha gokool baurhoo