Graduation

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In every university student’s life, at the end of his studies, there comes a day when everything comes together. A day when he can reap the rewards of nights spent Googling assignments, of days spent in the library copying homework and of the stress due to last-minute revisions. A day when his parents are proud of him. Graduation day.

Well, enough of hyperbole, here’s my account of my graduation at UOM.

 

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In the letter we received a few weeks before G-day, we were told to come at latest one hour before the ceremony starts to get our academic dress. & also to pay the Rs 600 required to rent the gown.

What we weren’t told was that the doors to the auditorium opened for students exactly 1 hour before the ceremony. So much for rushing to get to Réduit…

 

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After fitting the robes (available in various sizes), you have to fit your head to the cap. Which meant trying all the caps that have already been tried by everyone before you…

 

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So this is how it feels to be a wizard. 😀

 

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While we were waiting outside in the corridor, the Paul Octave Wiehe Auditorium was filling up with guests. Each student were given two passes. Although I saw a lot of students coming with a lot more than 2 relatives…

 

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The corridor was crowded to the fill. & we had stand a full hour in that inhospitable environment. Wearing a suit. & a tie. & a heavy gown on top of that. Imagine the heat.

 

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Not even these decades-old fans and portable ACs could repel the sweltering heat.

 

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Adding to the confusion were the university staff tasked with lining up all students. Each student was given a seating number according to the order they would graduate. Add up everything & you have a serious of issue of crowd mismanagement in case of an emergency.

 

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Not even this Fire Exit wouldn’t have been handy, because I’ve never actually seen it open.

 

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At last, I could wipe off my sweat as the doors to the auditorium opened and the students started marching inside, cap held under the left arm.

 

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Standing up for the procession of officers – Chancellor Sir R. Jeewoolall, Pro-Chancellor Prof. S. Jugessur, Vice-Chancellor Prof. H.C.S. Rughooputh & the Deans of Faculties.

 

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After the national anthem, we were seated and the Chancellor opened the ceremony.

 

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The Vice-Chancellor Prof. Rughooputh gave his Commencement speech. I remember having him as one of my lecturers during my first year…

 

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Followed by the guest speaker, President of Institution of Engineers Mauritius, Mr. Claude Wong So., who told us that we were not engineers. Not until we had real-world experience.

 

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Finally, at 10:30am, the presentation of awards & degrees to students began with Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Prof. T. Ramjeawon.

 

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You are not actually given the degree, but just a handshake by the Vice-Chancellor. The certificate can be collected on the same day.

 

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As the rows of students started emptying one by one, soon my turn came & I went on stage to shake hands, with cap under left arm.

 

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It’s only then that you can wear the cap with dreadlocks (tassel) on the left.

 

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The ceremony ended at 11 am & we were led out of the auditorium into the corridor… to queue up once again. This time a queue for taking group photos.

 

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Oh no, not the heat again.

 

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After the group photos, there were individual photos to take in studio-like setups with ribbon-rolled degree & all. Again, the auditorium was packed to the brim with students and family members waiting for their turn. It took an eternity for the queue to move as the photographers were going through every pose imaginable…

 

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Never mind, I had brought my own camera. 😉

 

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I couldn’t wait to get rid of my gown & proceed to refreshments. Only people with passes were allowed in the cafeteria. I should point out that it was an open buffet with absolutely no trace of disposable plates or even paper napkins.

 

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I proceeded to collect my degree & along the way, I couldn’t help but reminisce on my stay at the University of Mauritius.

 

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It may not be the best of all universities, but the journey was an enjoyable one. Some of the best times of my life.

 

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& now I’m a graduate. Goodbye UOM.

 

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