Hats and Scrolls: The Forever End Of A Formal Education

Sometime late last year, I was in a French tutorial. 

As my attention wavered between analyses of Montesquieu's writings on the nature of Eastern and Western culture, the identity of Algerian immigrants in France and my professor's profusions of superior ways of constructing an argumentative essay, I had a thought.

"I'm so sick of this shit."

I realised I was done. After over 18 years, I was sick of formal education.

Of people standing up in front of me talking while I took notes.

Of being told what to think and how to say it.

Of what I said being subjected to detailed criteria sheets and my lecturer's mood.

Just done.

None of this means that I didn't love my formal education, because I did. From fist pumping over my Distinction in an econometrics assignment to being reduced to a wailing puddle of snot and confusion over chronologies and symbolisms during the Reign of Terror, I'd be lying if I said I didn't gleefully soak up every second.

Not to mention being ridiculously lucky with my schools, teachers, subjects, friends and everything along the way.

But that day I realised that I had simply outgrown that period of my life, and was ready for the next one. 

Which I guess is what graduating symbolises - I think that's what the Chancellor during the ceremony even said - that it's a physical acknowledgement of all the work we've done (and of all the work yet to do). 

With all this in mind, the other day I donned a cap and cape and walked across a stage to receive my two degrees. 


Two bits of paper, a doff of a hat, a shake of a hand and that was that.

I'm officially an Adult now - I can't rely on any "I'm a student" fallback, and when people ask me what I do, I have to mention a job, not a subject. 

It also means I get to dive into the messy world of real work (i.e. people are paying me real monies to do the thing), less insane bed times, independence, clients, taxes, meetings and, ironically, free time.

Fun fact: once you've done your work for the day, the remaining hours are all yours to do anything you like! No pressure of study, assignments or anything from now on. I did not realise this, and I don't think I've been this free since maybe grade 5. 

Hats! (they're made for your head).

The ceremony itself wasn't exceptional, because I fell asleep there were a lot of people to get through, and nearly constant clapping was required, not to mention the valedictorian speech delivered by not JK Rowling, Steve Jobs or Tim Minchin, the fact I screwed up my doffing and the reading out of all 20 or so PhD theses completed under the Arts Faculty that thus included insights into things like time travel, Robin Hood and what colour means. 

In line with 18 years of tradition, my mum whistled loudly and because I was one of the first to go up, paved the way for others to do the same. 

Maman bought me the graduating koala - I named him Proust. It's an inside joke between me and him: I hated Proust. Seriously, f**k that guy and his madeleine cakes. 


Turns out little Gale was graduating in the same ceremony, so I got the chance to graduate with both my family and my best friend watching.

Congrats, little Gale!

So, in sum: come at me, world. I am ready as I'll ever be. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tallulah,

    I have a question about your template, since I'm using the same one.
    On your homepage your pictures of the articles show up the right way. As you can see on my blog the picture's aren't showing. Do you know how I can change this? So my pictures per article will also show up on my homepage.

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards,