Today was the day that my friends and I have spent the past five years working towards. Just about all that I can remember, the only part of the day when anything actually seemed real, was when I was standing on the side of the stage waiting for them to call my name, clapping all of my friends onto the stage to greet the chancellor and get their parchments.
I can also remember that Lawrence and I might have spent a good half hour being pseudo friends, when he told me that his one extra 7 in maths got him the QUT Medal, while I had ruled myself out after that 6 in statistical inference in fourth year. Of course he wasn’t arrogant about it, but it set me up for a big surprise when we sat in our seats and he pointed to the name book and said ‘guess you got one too!’ Definitely a shock, when at the time I thought it must have been for my engineering degree component, given that the maths department had kindly phoned Lawrence to ask if he’d prefer to attend the maths ceremony later in the week, which I knew couldn’t possibly be feasible based on my GPA when you consider that I had 8 fewer subjects than straight engineering students. I even thought that they had my GPA wrong when they read it out, because it was higher than the one that I usually quote, but I realised after Lawrence got 7.0 read out that it is just our maths GPA which they didn’t specify.
The feeling, standing alone on the stage between the chancellor and vice chancellor, with the full crowd alive with applause after what the VC had read out, was really something that I think made the years worth it. Of course it was awkward, but it was good to have all of my engineering friends behind me, and I really felt like I deserved to be recognised as different to the hundreds behind me.
We met other engineering grads afterwards, which I imagine was probably the first time that electrical, aerospace, mechanical, medical and civil engineers hung out together. And perhaps I suspect, the last!