Like every other university, we have graduation ceremonies twice a year.
Well, our next one is late this week, and our Events Office was looking for members of staff to volunteer to help. Needless to say, as I have never done it before – at least not from the non-student side, I happily offered my time to do it.
The distribution of roles
There will be people checking tickets and stopping non-ticket holders from sneaking in, people responsible for seating students and guests (I’m in the latter category), people who will be directing students towards the stage, and other people who will be helping them back to their seats. At the end of the day, we will all be expected to help clean up the place, and we will also be tidying up in between ceremonies. It is going to be a busy and full day. What I like the most is that we will all be wearing the gowns of the universities we graduated from, so I’m expecting that us stewards will be a very colourful crowd.
The challenges of the day
1) Getting to the venue: my institution used to be part of the University of Surrey up until a few years ago, so graduation ceremonies are still held at that university’s emblematic Guildford Cathedral. Having never been there, it is going to be a challenge for me to commute and manage my time so that I get there early enough.
2) Getting there early enough: we are expected to be at the venue at 8:15 am (yuk!) to be briefed, put on our gowns, and familiarize ourselves with the place. This means I will need to leave home at around 7:00 am, and wake up before 6:30. Now that is a major challenge!
3) Because the time between each ceremony is very short, lunch is going to be another challenge. We will basically need to sneak out to have a very quick bite – a sandwich or something light and quick – and come back in as soon as we can manage.
I will be posting about my experience later this week, so stay tuned!