University of Glasgow – Graduation 2012.

So, that’s the Law degree done with.

From now on I expect you all to refer to me as Stephen McLeod Blythe LLB. (Hons.) – and that does not mean ‘lowlife bastard’ as my mother helpfully quipped. I bet she’s been saving that one up for years.

This is the inside of the Bute Hall, where the Graduation ceremony was held. It’s also where we sat most of our exams. It’s a rather grand place. (oh, and it looks empty here, but it got busy quickly)

It’s apparently bad luck for students to walk across the grass in the quadrangles before they graduate, so once it’s all done and dusted we took full advantage of the freedom.

Lots of people say that Uni looks like Hogwarts. I’ve always thought that was a bit of a nonsense observation made by people who aren’t used to living in a country where there are castles everywhere. However, as we swished through under the cloisters in our robes, it definitely felt like we were in the set of a Harry Potter film.

I look fairly scared here because we were getting barraged by people with cameras at this point, but the girl on the left of the picture is one of my few pals from my four years at University. Emma sat next to me on the second day of first year, and we’ve looked out for each other ever since. She’s lovely.

Plus, I am clearly, as the other girl’s dad put it: “A rose amongst two thorns.”

The whole ceremony was rather grand. After ascending the ornate staircase to the hall, we gathered in the back to find out what lay in store. It was a pleasantly surreal experience, and as one of my learned friends observed… it was made especially cool by the fact that the robes were exactly the kind of thing that some of us would end up wearing in court. The whole law degree thing can be a gruelling experience, and one where you constantly feel like you know nothing, so to have some sort of recognition with all of the garb and regalia made a rather nice change.

Once the latin chanting and praying was over, we got given our degrees.

When you go to a place every day, it’s easy to get used to the surroundings, no matter their grandeur. The tradition in the ceremony brought home the whole esteem of the University, which is the fourth oldest in the English speaking world – founded in 1451 – and in the top 1% of all Universities internationally. I’m not really one for feeling much pride, but it was probably about as close as I get to feeling proud about graduating from this place.

This is me and Scott. He’s awesome.

We took the opportunity outside to check out what the parchments actually said, only to find out that they are completely in Latin.

Since I’ve lost a ton of weight as a result of my whole aversion to gluten, I was able to wear my granda’s kilt. My dad’s dad died when he was wee, so I never got to meet him in person, and whilst I don’t care much for looking into the past, it was a nice way of having a bit of a connection with those that have gone before.

Blinded by the sun, but this is about the best picture there is full-length of me and my dad.

There was a drinks reception in the Law School afterwards. There was a pile of us who hadn’t planned on going along out of the fear that it would be a pretentious affair, but we decided to go en masse for safety… and ended up claiming it back in style.

Whilst most people turned up for a drink or two and left, we ended up firing into a substantial amount of the beverages (the office staff sneaking us a bottle or five extra) on the sly), and being the last to leave. Okay, we might have been told to get out, but still.

Having professors kicking about, bottles of champagne like stuff in hand is always something to cherish.

It was a jolly good time.

This is me and Doctor Finlay. Hopefully he didn’t realise how few of his classes I ended up attending in the second semester.

“Can we put the strawberries in the champagne?”
“You can put whatever you like in the champagne!”
“Vodka?!”
“Vodka? This is the law school; use something more expensive.”

As we drunkenly walked back together through the grounds of the University, the heavens opened and there was a torrential downpour. You can’t see it here, but it was pishing it down.

I hadn’t wanted to go to the graduation at all, and I think I said that I’d be happy if they just scrunched up the degree in a ball and threw it at me in the street. After seeing the ceremony and the friends around me graduating from the ancient University in their robes, it felt good, and I’m glad I went. As thunder and lightning punched through the skies overhead, it was a rather poignant end.

Getting a law degree was something I had always said I wanted to do since I was a wee guy, and now I’ve actually done it.

I think I might actually miss the whole thing.

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