19 July 2013

Class of 2011

The problem with getting 'old' (I am 24 now, after all) and being surrounded by ever-invasive social networks, is that there's no escaping the onward march of time. It's no bad things, by all means - I cringe with embarrassment when I see pictures of me as a fresh-faced fresher and wish the evidence could be banished from Facebook forever, but it shows just how much I've changed. Now, I'm seeing photos of friends and friends-of-friends who are suddenly 'all grown up' and waving goodbye to their alma maters.

Two years ago, I graduated. We were lucky enough to be inaugurated here at the Methodist Central Hill in Westminster, overlooking the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. I did a four-year joint honours - French and Comparative Literature - with a year abroad in Paris, so I was graduating with all sorts of old friends and new friends. I even shared the stage with (and got a wink from) Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden fame) as he was being awarded an honorary Doctorate.

Despite being the height of July, it was a miserable day with non-stop rain so there's no glorious photos of the class of 2011 tossing our mortar boards in the air and dancing around in our robes. It's a little sad that there's such minimal photographic evidence of what was the culmination of four years (semi-hard) work but torrential rain waits for no man.

After the ceremony and reception, we bolted back home and had a glorious dinner at Seven Fish (a local favourite). And as a graduation treat, a few weeks later, my Dad took me for a surprise lunch back in London - at the House of Lords. With a tour from my Dad's friend (a peer in the House), he pointed out some of the more and less familiar spots, we crossed momentarily from the Commons and the Lords (differentiated by the colour of the carpet), sat in on a chamber, had drinks on the terrace and lunch in the dining room and saw where Spencer Perceval was assassinated.

Two years ago, I could only have dreamed of being where I am now. Leaving university in a recession, with a 2:1 like every other graduate, the future seemed really daunting. But with a bit more work and determination, here I am. A lot can happen in two years, so toss that mortarboard and dive straight in.

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