Graduation Day

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Graduation came sometime during the 1st week of July. I know it’s odd that I can’t remember the exact date as it was only last month, but my graduation was a bit of a non-event for me. Let me explain…I have been to other graduation ceremonies at my school before, and I was not impressed. The whole thing just seemed like an exercise in disorganisation.

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The graduation is split into 2 parts. The 1st part has all the speeches given by all the heads of schools. That part is fairly organised because people are just sitting and listening. The 2nd part is the collection of diplomas. This was done in a way I had never seen before. On the stage, stood about 10 professors. In no particular order, every graduate from every and anywhere in the auditorium went through the back door and walked around to the side door which is closer to the stage. I felt like I was in a stampede. There are only 5 people in my class, so we had to fight to stay together otherwise we would have gotten separated.

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When we finally got on stage, we were handed a blank certificate jacket, given to us by a professor I had never met before. The professor who handed me my certificate jacket was quite nice though, as he asked me where I was from, what I studied and told me congratulations on graduating. On the positive side, there were many picture-taking opportunities. Unfortunately my phone got stolen, so all the wonderful pictures that I had taken, simply vanished. I did manage however to hold on to a few that I had posted on WeChat.

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Receiving my certificate on stage from the very nice Professor
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Being interviewed by undergrad students for the school’s radio station
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My classmate and her roommate/friend
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My classmate and our friend (he graduated with a PhD)
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My Ethiopian friend and I
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Our under-gown garments

It is the hardest thing to realise that after forcing yourself into acclimatisation and forming bonds with some amazing people that it will all soon become memories in your mind. It’s a different feeling leaving friends and family behind in your home country, because then, you know that no matter what, you all share the same home base and home will always bring you back.  But in China, when you leave, you leave. It’s a bit like the balls on a pool table, they all start out together, but eventually they all get dispersed and end up in different places.

Some of us had already dispersed, but now it’s now my turn to find my way home and so far it’s all been mixed feelings.

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