Fieldwork in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Monday, 25 July 2016

Graduation: The end of an era

On Thursday I finally graduated from my PhD. That was it, over, bringing a definitive end to my time at UEA after almost 5 years. This was just a formality, the ‘certificate’ I was handed on stage was just a blank piece of paper and the ‘scroll’ in my photos is nothing more than a bit of plastic drainpipe; I’d had the real certificate sent to me months before. However, it felt important to go and bring this final stage of my education to a marked conclusion, going along with all the (somewhat ridiculous) pomp and circumstance a 53 year old university can muster.

Returning to Norfolk after a few months in London felt like coming home; the walk through the quiet, green surroundings of the campus much more pleasant than my current daily death-cycle commute through west London.

The hot summer’s day meant the full PhD robes and suit were unwelcome, but thankfully the old sports hall was air conditioned and the ceremony was relatively short. After a few speeches, a quick walk across the stage and a handshake, it was all over. That was it, my link to UEA had been severed, and it was time to look ahead to the next stage of my career (see my last post).

The blur is me, honest

Photographs were taken with my colleagues of the last few years, the ‘Lobster Room’ office had almost all managed to go through the whole process and graduate together - the remainder of us refused to be separated for the group photos. There were, however, a few surprises as to who had and had not succeeded; the PhD process is not without its casualties and last minute triumphs.
After that, it was a race to lose the robes and get down t’pub for an evening in one of the best beer gardens in Norwich to discuss the highs and lows of our time at UEA and find out how everybody is doing now – mostly very well thankfully.

Despite media reports, UEA has not banned the throwing of hats

Charlotte and I stayed in Norwich for a long weekend doing everything we missed: drinking with old mountaineering club buddies, hanging out at the climbing wall where we used to work, getting sunburnt on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea and exploring Thetford forest.

Norfolk might be quiet, out of the way and slow paced, but it is very pleasant. We’re going to miss it.

Just chilling with some ducks in the woods - sort of sums up Norfolk really

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