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11:57am on Friday, 17th July, 2009:



It was graduation day at Essex University yesterday. It was the day before, too: we have around 9 different ceremonies, spread across two days, so all graduands and their relatives can comfortably be seated in our dustbin.

This year, the ceremony for the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering was the last one, at 4pm. At 5pm, I had to pick my younger daughter up from her work experience (which included handing out Tamiflu to the parents of children with swine 'flu — we are so going to catch it...) so I couldn't attend the ceremony itself. I usually make an effort to do so, because I like to see my students graduate and it's nice for them to be able to introduce their family to members of staff. This time, though, I couldn't do that. Instead, then, I went to the lecture theatre and stood outside to meet them as they went in.

I got there 30 minutes before the ceremony began. A few students had already gone in, but the vasy bulk hadn't. I watched patiently as they all trooped past, and ... after 30 minutes had not seen a single one of my students. OK, so there were only 3 of them going to be there, but still...

How come they can spend 3 years showing up at my lectures moments before I'm about to start, but when it comes to graduation they're inside and sitting down with more than half an hour to go?

I'd even put a tie on especially.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).