After their psychology degree, university students graduate and go to their graduation. But what does it mean? How does it work? And there is anything to reflect on afterwards. In this psychology student life podcast episode, I take you through my graduation including my thoughts before the day, "toilet planning", how the day worked, how the ceremony went and then I wrap up the episode by reflecting on my time at university and what my graduation means for the future. If you're a future or current psychology student then this will be a very useful, interesting and eye-opening podcast episode.
This podcast episode has been sponsored by How Does University Work? Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it. Also, you can buy the eBook directly from me at https://www.payhip.com/connorwhiteley
Psychology Student Life Episode Transcript
Expectations Are Before The Day
So, I have to admit, I did not actually know what to expect about my graduation because I sort of knew that beforehand there would be a reception, and I didn't know what was gonna happen at that reception. And equally, I had no idea what really happens at a graduation, because they just don't really tell you about how our graduation works, because we had the information pack, so we knew the timings. So, we had to be at this specific place to get the tickets, to get the gowns, to get the photos done, etc., etc. But the ins and outs, we didn't really know though. So, I was a little nervous, like, about that.
Overall, the whole graduation itself, I was not nervous about it. I was not nervous about getting my degree, even though I know quite a lot of other people were. Like, some people were really panicking and, like, other stuff. I think one person was actually almost, reduced to tears, they were that sort of excited, but really, really nervous. Thankfully, I didn't have that. But if you do feel that, that's completely normal. And I almost think that's a rite of passage. So, I'm a bit gutted that I didn't quite get that rite of passage.
But the thing that I was nervous about was the reception.
It was like I mentioned, I think it was on Monday's podcast episode, that because a bunch of my friends doing Camp America, I actually was really concerned I won't have anyone to talk to at the reception. But, for anyone that doesn't know, the reception is sort of where you all meet beforehand or after your graduation. You all talk, mingle. There are speeches done by the academic staff. You can talk to your academic staff, like, for one last time. Like, I spoke to some great ones. I talked to one of my clinical lecturers, sort of, like, for the first time, but he sort of knew me because I kept popping up, basically.
There was a lot of, like, good stuff like, and a lot of good catch-ups and there were a lot of photos to take.
So what my expectations before the day were quite nervous. And to be honest, that's normal. I really, really do want to, like, hammer that point home, that that's okay to be nervous.
So, this is the sort of comedy section of this podcast episode. And to be honest, I really did just wanna add this section to sort of lighten this up, and to be honest, to make you guys laugh, because it must have been the day before the graduation, me and my family were talking, and we realized something quite important.
So, the graduation ceremony goes on for about 90 minutes, but then there's a problem. People in the audience, and at the time we didn't think students could, they didn't think we could go for the toilet. And the problem with that is that because everything would be so busy because you're preparing before you getting your gown and everything, and you'll be drinking, you really didn't want to have to go to the toilet too much, because even outside Canterbury Cathedral, where the bar was and where we were all getting ready, I didn't actually know where the toilets were, even now.
So, that was actually quite bad.
But as I said, there was actually a lot of toilet planning. Like, we all made sure that we had a drink when we got up. But then we really did try to limit our drinking. So, that might be a minor tip for the parents and whoever your guests are. But if you're a student, drink as much as you want, honestly, because you actually can go for the toilet during your ceremony, because it's really carefully done. Like, you might have to wait a little bit, depending on how far away you are from getting your name called.
But it's really good though. And to be honest, you've actually got nothing to worry about from the toilet side. And the really fun bit is, is the fact you can actually just rub it in your parents' faces.
How Did The Day Work?
So, I've already spoken quite a lot about the reception, and I've also mentioned the photos bit on Monday, the podcast episode. But I really do want to add in a bit more detail though. As I mentioned, like, before though, the reception is basically where you go beforehand and have speeches, and you get to meet everyone again before the ceremony.
Now, do not do what my family did, because, in the information pack we got, which was the longest bit, we didn't really know what the word congregation meant. Of course, we know what it means in the religious context and everything. When it comes to university, we actually had no idea.
So, and to be honest, this information pack we got really did sound like everything we needed because it included the reception times and other bits. Then we realized it really didn't, because we went to the ceremonies first though, and then, thankfully, we realized before we actually spoke to anyone that we were actually in the wrong place because this was not where the reception was happening.
Thankfully, Westgate Hall, which is where it was happening, wasn't actually that far away. So, we took a few wrong turns, but we did actually get there. So, a massive tip though when it comes to university graduation, if you see the words of congregation, it's talking about the ceremony. And the funny thing about the actual information booklet is that the word "ceremony" wasn't really mentioned.
It was only congregation. I don't why they call a university ceremony a congregation, but it was a bit of light fun though, and I laughed about it a few times.
So, another tip I would absolutely give about the day is that definitely just take as many photos as you can, because this is sort of like the last time you're gonna be seeing a bunch of people, people though, and this is sort of last time that you are gonna see the friends that you really, really like, but you might not be that close to, or the friends that you really care about, but you sort of know after you go to university you aren't really gonna bother too much about staying in contact with or you're not gonna make the effort to go and see them in person.
Granted, sometimes that's actually impossible. Like, some of my friends, they're international students, and they come from really quite far-away countries. So, seeing them in person would basically be impossible, or it would break my bank account. Something that I really, even though I love them, basically, I am not gonna do that at all. My bank account's my bank account. So, but that's definitely my massive tip, though. Just take a ton of, like, photos.
And then also talking about the professional photos.
To be honest, the professional photos, they're just sort of there. No one actually talks about them. Again, so I actually want to talk about them. The professional photos are really, really good. Because if you're in the UK, then you might get a kick out of this. The company that normally actually does the school photographs that you did when basically ever since you were in year one, called the Tempest, they're actually the same people that do your university photographs. So, basically, you cannot get rid of this company. But they are really, really good, and I like them.
So, we're going back to actually useful stuff, is that when it comes to your professional photographs, actually, just take your parents, take your partner, and actually, yeah, get in the queue, because then you can have your graduation photos done.
And even though I actually went by myself, because we didn't realize that, you really could have one with the parents, but I still had tons of other really nice photos with my parents anyway. Well, I did see tons of other couples and their parents, and the photos that did, like, turn out nice.
But something that's really nice about the photos is that when you actually get your certificate, you actually get a photo taken. Therefore, I had a photo of the Chancellor actually shaking my hand and actually getting my certificate from the Chancellor. So, that's always nice. That was a nice surprise.
The Ceremony Itself
So, moving on with the actual psychology graduation, the way how the ceremony works is that after you get checked in, you're basically given a number, and because this number is the exact same order as the university's certificates are done, and the order that your name is read out in. So, it's really important that you are in this order.
And, at this point, everyone's nervous, everyone is starting to feel scared and it's sort of like stressed but really excited about it at the same time. I wasn't at this a point in time, so we all lined up.
But the problem with having your name beginning with W, as in your surname, is you realize just how far away you are from the front. And the funny thing about the university ceremony is after people have clapped the first 20 people, you could actually hear the difference in their enthusiasm. Because the first 20 people, everyone's really excited, everyone's really happy, and after the first 20, it's like, yep, we're just clapping for the sake of it now. We're just clapping to be nice.
So, it really is important that you actually do get excited and you do sort of, like, clap. Like, if someone that you know is getting the award, then give it a bit of extra oomph, and really, really trying to clap is what I did a few times. But that sort of drop is actually quite funny.
And then I will absolutely admit that the only time I did get nervous, or my heart did start pounding, was when I was actually entering the queue to actually get my certificate. Because what happens is that you all are sitting down until where your section is actually, like, called up, and then you're putting, like, a line in your order, and then you actually, like, go off and you actually wait for your name to be called. Then you would go to the chancellor, like, shake his hand, and then you walk down the cathedral. So, that was, like, really good, though.
But when I was only, like, five people away, my heart started pounding, and I really felt like I needed a toilet, like, massive toilet, biggest toilet I've ever needed, and bang went the toilet planning. So, my heart started pumping, thankfully, my name was called, and then I went out, everything was fine and I didn't need a toilet anymore. So, it was just, like, nerves. So, yes, like, I shook the chancellor's hand, walked down the cathedral, got my certificate, and then went back to my seat though, and that was really, really good.
So the ceremony was a lot of fun, really nice. I had to actually see everyone, like, graduate, and everyone get their reward. And then, as I graduate, so, like, go out first, and then in list, like, friendship groups, like, we did the phone up the mortarboards. But one thing I do want to mention about the mortarboard is that in the UK, and at my university, you can buy it for 10 pounds.
Now, I did not want to keep my mortarboard. I just wanted to rent it. I just wanted to rent it for the day, then just go home, basically. But my parents really, really wanted my mortarboard, so they bought it, and now I'm stuck with my mortarboard for the rest of my life, and it's like, I'm never gonna wear it again, obviously, because I'll just get a new one from my master's graduation, and it's sort of like, I don't know why my parents wanted it, but they just did. Got to love them. And now I just need to secretly plot how the hell I'm gonna get rid of this mortarboard when they go.
My Thoughts About My Graduation And The Future
So, I'm really, really happy that I've graduated. I have to admit, there were definitely some times where I did not think this was gonna happen, and I've spoken about this a lot on the podcast, but from my academic writing in year one and two not being up to scratch, to the sheer amount of stress and concern I had about group projects in my first year, I did not think I was gonna graduate. I seriously didn't.
I didn't think I was even gonna get into my master's. That caused a lot of stress, a lot of ups, and a lot of really, really bad mental health that I have not had in years, and thankfully, I haven't had in good two years. Because I got onto my placement year, I met the amazing professor Amir. I cannot pronounce his surname, and I really, really, really should learn, considering I've actually known this guy for two years, and I'm actually working with him again next year.
Yeah. So, he's been great, really helped me with my academic writing, and his Ph.D. students are wonderful. Absolutely cannot fault them. I actually might try to have them on the podcast at some point, because they're doing really interesting research. But anyway, though, that's a topic for the far, far future.
So, what I'm trying to say is that you might struggle at university. Believe me, you really, really might. But you can still graduate if you keep trying, learning, and if you keep try and improving, your graduation will be a lot of fun. I'm surprised how much fun I had at my graduation, considering I'm not the most emotional of people, believe me. Yeah, like, seriously, I was surprised at how much fun I had because I thought I would be rather unemotional or rather unaffected by the day.
And to be honest, I was for the most part until my actual graduation. But now, I'm a postgrad. I'm really happy. I'm really excited for the future. And as I actually said on my social media post, considering how much my university experience has given me, not only as a person but as a fiction author, because I've done university romances, fantasy, and I've done mysteries based on my university experiences, I really am looking forward to my future as a master's student, and everything else beyond that. Because that's what my university experience has given me as my undergrad. So, I really am looking forward to seeing what can my master's give me.
So, I really am happy about the future, I'm really happy that I graduated and if you have graduated, I think you can back me up with everything that I've said. And if you haven't graduated, then you've got something great to look forward to.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s psychology student life podcast episode.
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