My Graduation (Also known as ‘That day I broke my nose’).

8 Jul

In a desperate attempt to avoid writing an academic personal statement, I thought I would record the antics that took place on my graduation day.  Not that I am likely to forget the day, as the lovely new bump in my already pretty ‘interesting’ nose is probably going to act as a constant reminder.  I will apparently do anything for a good anecdote.

Monday was an all round good day.  Not only did I get to look like a wizard for ages, but I also got the keys to the best rented accommodation I have ever seen, never mind lived in.  However, it got off to a rather frenzied start, as the drive up to Newcastle from the hole that is my hometown took a little longer than expected due to a combination of traffic, a 50mph limit and my ageing father’s need for increasingly frequent toilet stops.  Luckily, before I got to the stage of high-pitched ranting from the back seat, we arrived at the best flat ever, and I was distracted by real wooden floors and hurried make-up application.  I met Mike and his parents who, due to their genetics not containing the Sinclair Lateness Gene, were already at our flat, and had been in Newcastle long enough to have been shopping.  A large taxi was summoned, and off we went to the university campus, all very excited, and in my case, nervous to the point of nausea.

Thankfully, the excitement of wearing massive robes for the first time completely overruled my increasing panic, as I distracted myself with numerous Harry Potter jokes (jokes in the loosest sense of the word, more like ‘What’s under your cape, Severus Snape? lololololol’).  Before I knew it I was sitting in Newcastle’s special occasion room, which I had only seen once before when they were trying to impress me as a scared little fresher, trying to stop my dad standing up to take embarrassing photographs.  I was determined not to look as nervous as I was feeling.  A famous parent anecdote is about my A-Level presentation evening, where I positively jogged across the stage, snatched my certificates, tugged at my hair anxiously and disappeared in the blink of an eye, much to their amusement.  This time I was intent on not providing them with any further laughs at my expense, and consequently have genuine photographic evidence of me shaking hands with the important man in a hat (Vice Chancellor? God knows) grinning and looking like he had just told me that my hair looked nice.  Fake confidence – 1, Sweating palms – 0. I’m just sorry that jolly looking man had to touch them.

Harry and Ginny having passed their N.E.W.Ts

The ceremony went by rather quickly, and was rounded off by a moderately depressing speech that basically said ‘there are no jobs for you, but the world loves a trier. Have you considered expensive postgraduate education?’ which luckily I have, thus staving off official unemployment a little longer.  Relief flooded me as I stood up to file out with my fellow wizards, but then DISASTER STRUCK. As disasters go, it was fairly moderate, but I could definitely have done without it.  At the last minute, I remembered I had put my graduation ticket under my chair, and realised that without it, I wouldn’t be getting any free champagne (bad), and that the line in front of me was starting to move quite quickly away from me (very bad).  I had to act fast.  I bent down trying not to let my gown fall off, and in doing so, smashed my face on the back of the chair in front of me.  NOSES ARE SENSITIVE.  Tears sprang to my eyes and a ‘fffffuuuuuuuu’ began to escape me, but then my urge to please my parents and not embarrass myself overcame me, and I managed to file out without crying or having a nosebleed, and was so smug about how brave I had been, I’d almost forgotten my terrible incident until my mum saw me and said ‘WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR NOSE, OH MY GOD, I THINK I HAVE SOME CONCEALER, OH GOD ARE YOU OK, JESUS HELENA, YOUR NOSE????!!!!!??!!1111??!!’ and so on.

This rather put a downer on things.  I was presented with a mirror, and was rather disheartened to see something resembling a kidney bean sitting on the disfigured bridge of my nose.  Luckily, my mum is a proper mum who carries a handbag full of everything you will ever need in any given situation, so we set to work on concealing my wounds so I could have my ‘professional photos’ taken without anyone being horrified.  My usual melodramatic tendencies were overshadowed by my graduation-euphoria and the nose story became quite a good ice breaker in awkward conversations, but as it has now been two days and the bump and pain still remain, I am beginning to be a little more pessimistic.  

Once I looked presentable again, we queued for photos for about six weeks. As an only child, I have to accept the full responsibility for such parent-essentials as graduation photos, so tried my best not to moan that all the free drinks would be gone by the time we arrived at the reception.  By trying not to moan, I mean I only said this about 20 times, whilst whimpering softly about my nose to encourage maternal sympathy.  Luckily, a fresh batch of champagne was being produced as I arrived, so all was well, and I was able to get rather drunker than intended as it was about 6pm and I’d only eaten half an egg sandwich. Many photos were taken and I was able to fangirl over a couple of lecturers (unfortunately my favourites weren’t in attendance, or maybe that is fortunately, as I definitely would have gone in for a hug or two) before we had to hand our robes back and go home.

The parents had laid out a giant feast of Marks and Spencer’s food for when we returned to our house, which was HEAVEN.  Sparkling wine flowed and we ate until we became food zombies, to the point where I could only speak to say ‘this day has been so niiice, I love this house, it’s so niiice, this is the best day ever, everything is nice’.  That state was probably not the best basis for a night of emotional gin drinking with my departing friends, but I seemed to survive to tell the tale.

I will end with a photo of me looking like a smug borrower in my new bedroom (I am 5’9”, the ceilings are ridiculous).  Roll on my next graduation, when I am pretty sure the English School will be sick of having to announce an excitable, cloaked Helena Kate Sinclair, invariably pretending to hex them.

4 Responses to “My Graduation (Also known as ‘That day I broke my nose’).”

  1. Chris 08/07/2010 at 10:58 am #

    This made me chuckle very much! Sorry to hear about the new shapely addition to your nose. Glad you had a nice day – my grandad went from the left to the right side of the tent and had 5 glasses of champers. Grandma meanwhile, gorged on strawberries. Congratulations on graduating! X

  2. Kate 17/07/2010 at 10:38 pm #

    check you out, all graduated and everything! Many congrats x

    • Helena 17/07/2010 at 10:42 pm #

      I know, aimless postgraduate study here I come. It’s got to be better than my current career as a school dinnerlady… x

  3. mitch 31/08/2013 at 5:32 am #

    You have a beautifully shaped nose/nostrils nonetheless.

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