January has provided an opportunity for me to experience working at one of the biggest events in the University calendar: Graduation! Although the January ceremonies are not as large or as numerous as the ones in September, I thought it would be a good introduction into what I would be letting myself in for in September.
I was only able to help for the Thursday ceremony, as on Wednesday I was graduating myself. It was my second graduation ceremony at Lincoln and it wasn’t any less special or exciting the second time around. It was a brilliant day and despite the cold, myself, my parents and my girlfriend all had an amazing time.
But bright and early on Thursday I reported to the assembly rooms, at first helping students and families find their way around while they put on their gowns and had photos taken. I knew from my own experience on Wednesday that the day can be a bit of a whirlwind and it can be difficult to remember where you need to go and when. It was also really nice to see people on their big day with their proud families!
After a few hours I was asked to head to the Cathedral Centre where the academics and university staff who sit on the platform during the ceremony were getting ready. The Thursday ceremony had a very full platform, and I was asked to assist with gowning to ensure everyone was ready on time. I didn’t expect to be bringing deputy vice chancellors their gowns when the day began, but it is where I found myself regardless!
After having had a chance to catch my breath while the morning ceremony was going on, I was asked to escort some VIPs from the Cathedral to the celebration event in the Castle grounds, and then to welcome people into the event and check tickets. Finally as the day came to a close, I helped pack down in the Castle grounds and in the Assembly Rooms so everything was ready to be collected.
It was really interesting to see graduation from both sides, as a graduand/graduate the first day and as a staff member the second. It’s also great experience to work at such a huge event and I’m sure it will be very good practice come September!
It was also really nice to spend time with some colleagues outside of the office who I might not normally get a chance to talk to. One of the Lincoln Award workshops discussed the benefits of agile working and working across departments, and I think events like graduation and open days provide a really useful opportunity to do that.