Graduation was a great occasion. I arrived at around eleven, and went with some graduands towards the ceremony. The clothes were brilliant: their shoes were newly polished (no buckles allowed), dress suits dry-cleaned and dress shirts hired. They wore white bow ties with white bands (these are old-fashioned items that you would recognise if you saw them, but I have never been required to wear them) - stiff rectangular pieces of cloth that stick out from under the bow tie. Over all that, they wore the gown appropriate to their degree. In most cases this is a black academic gown with white fur lining the hood. Most had mortarboard hats, and all this made them look fantastic. I mean, they are silly, impractical clothes, but they all looked very grand, and it made the whole day special.
I wasn't allowed into the ceremony, so you will have to remind me to describe that to you next year when I graduate myself. Meeting all of their parents was interesting because it showed that even now, parents are capable of embarassing their children (most of them were lovely though), and then it became another day of saying goodbye to friends.
It did occur to me that there are less people leaving than it seems, because some people are here for another year, some are doing different courses or getting a job here and so aren't really leaving. But there are still some people who are leaving and who I will miss a lot, including:
Mirat - gone back to America, I feel like we have got to know each other better and better over the whole year, until we were really close friends at the end of the year. Keep in contact
Katy - also gone back to America, it's been great getting to know you this year, and I hope we keep in contact and I'm gonna have to come to see you all in America to practise my accent! Memories from parties, pubs, cafes and lecture theatres will stay with me for a long time
Duncan - the third materials' scientist. We have had a great time drinking tea, especially oooooolong, judging eurovision entries, and talking about alloys of course. I hope you open a cafe someday, even if it is after you retire from teaching. I am expecting visits!
Mark - I have always taken our friendship for granted as we have lived next door for three years, but we have always got on well, and seem to be able to spend unending time together wasting time without getting bored. It's weird to have to make an effort to keep in contact, but I hope we do
Clare - graduated now, and finding a job next year. I never realised how important you are to me until you were about to leave, and I won't let you lose contact because we have been through a lot together and understand each other pretty well
Kaleen - since you will be abroad next year, I doubt we will meet again. It's a shame, because at one point we were such good friends, but these things happen sometimes, I wish you well, and will miss you very much
Dave - meeting on various evenings for tea and cheese has always been a pleasure, and it will be a shame that you are further away than "just across college" from now on
Martin - you are a really great bloke, and I could learn a lot from you, especially in friendship, tolerance and discipline. I know you well, but always wish I had got to know you a little better, and for that reason I hope we will keep in close contact
It's a long list so I have not put everyone in, there are others I am sad to see leave