There are few events that you really do remember in life. Those who have got married claim never to forget what it was like, those who have flown an aeroplane say that the experience of their first flight will stay with them forever; and those who have graduated follow suit by saying that they will always remember the moment they walked across the stage, shook the Vice Chancellors hand and received their scroll.
Being the ripe old age of 21, I have not yet flown a plane, or got married, however the past week has been filled with life time experiences, ones that hopefully I will never forget.
For those who have been following my tweets, or read the about me section on my website will know, I was put forward for the National Union Of Students – Course Representative Of The Year Award. Over 350 people were put forward by their Student Union’s, and this was reduced to a short list of three, one of whom was me. This meant that I got the oppertunity to get suited and booted in order to attend the awards ceremony at The University Of Leeds Students’ Union on Wednesday.
Being Leeds born and bred meant that I didn’t have to travel far to attend, however six people from Salford’s Student’s Union came up, including ; Phil Benton (Chief Executive), Kimberly Neal (Student Representation Co-ordinator, and person who gave me my chance to shine), Caroline Dangerfield (Students Union President 2011-12) and Ricky Chotai (Students Union President 2010-11).
The awards ceremony itself was fantastic, the hall was beautify decorated just as TV awards ceremonies are, the food was fantastic and all locally sourced. The most interesting course was desert, the ice cream was vanilla, however it had something in it that no-one in the room could quite put their finger on; so if anyone who catered this event reads this blog, please do get in touch and let me know what that mystery ingredient was.
Luckily for me, the award I was up for was first, as the names of nominees were read out, team Salford whooped and cheered when my name appeared on screen. There was a long drawn out pause as Usman Ali, NUS Vice President and Ex Salford Students Union President milked the audience to get as much tension out of us as possible; and, it sadly wasn’t me. Yes, I’m not going to lie I was disappointed, however being shortlisted from over 350 people is still an achievement in itself, and one that I am very please with. Amongst other things it brought some good PR to USSU, and spurred me on to insure that I win it next year when at MMSU.
That was Wednesdays excitement, Thursdays excitement saw the delivery of my MacBook Air, and Friday was the milepost of my three year course.
My graduation took place at The Lowry Theatre in Manchester, and I was lucky enough to have both my parents, brother, sister and grandparents attend with me. Amazingly we arrived in plenty of time, which in hindsight was a fantastic choice, as it allowed us to have several professional photos taken; the obligatory one of me on my own holding the scroll (which to my surprise was made out of plastic tube), one with my brother and sister, and one of the whole party.
Seeing my friends again was a very interesting experience, as we had never all been dressed up so smartly before in unison — more photos were taken and we proceeded to the theatre to graduate.
The down and hat were secured, and several robing people were on hand to insure that we looked our best, my name was called out and I took the long walk across the stage to have my hand shaken by the Vice Chancellor, Martin Hall. Because of my involvement within the Students Union, Martin and I had met on several occasions and I am sure he would agree, that we had a good working relationship. As he shook my hand, we had a ‘little moment’ where he mentioned that he was sad to hear that I would be leaving Salford to go to Manchester Met. I promised him that I would be involved with the Union there, just as much as I was at Salford.
From then onwards it was all a bit of a blur, I said goodbye to my friends (although it’s not really a good bye, its just a so-long, as I will definitely keep in touch with some of them), had more photos taken, and mum ordered the ones that we had taken before.
Currently I remember most details of my Graduation, however I am sure just as the memory of my Bar Mitzvah is fading, over time this will to. However as I am taking my Graduate Diploma in Law next year, and (hopefully) Bar Course the year after that; I will have two more graduation ceremonies to attend, so by the end of it, I should be an expert at it!