Finally, FINALLY it is results day at Westminster! Many congratulations to all of our students who have completed their first or second years, and a special congratulations to those of you getting your final degree results today. You did it!
We know that this year, more than any other, you have done this under incredibly difficult circumstances, and your perseverance in the face of a global pandemic, exile from the library and emergency online teaching is to be applauded and celebrated. Really, well done. For those of you still completing work, we see you too and your time will come. Keep at it (and we’re still here to help if you need us).
We also know the pandemic has robbed you of some of the rituals and rites of passage usually enjoyed by students at the end of their degrees. We didn’t get that ‘last class ever’ moment when tutors get a bit dewy eyed and say things like “is it really three years since you were in my [insert Level 4 module title] class?”. When we asked you to submit your dissertations online we knew there would be no ‘handing-in-my-dissertation’ selfie moment for you (a screenshot of the Turnitin ‘submit’ button is not as Instagram-able, we get it).
We also know you’re having to wait for your graduation ceremony – that special day when we take over the Royal Festival Hall, wear ridiculous outfits, and when your tutors and loved ones, a) weirdly meet, and b) demand you pose for endless unflattering photos. Until that joyous day comes (and it will come), we thought we’d share with you some of our own end-of-degree moments – so, please enjoy this rogues’ gallery of blurry, in some cases pre-digital, snaps of the Sociology team at their proudest/most awkward.
Here’s Umit at his graduation from the Sociology degree at Westminster in 2008, see he’s been through what you have and survived!
Naomi is the only one of us brave enough to admit to having had an official degree photo done! By the time of her PhD she’d embraced the more everyday snapshot format.
Adam: This was my PhD graduation. It absolutely bucketed down with rain, roads were flooded, there were serious traffic jams across Sydney and I, with lots of other people, turned up late and dripping wet. It was an early ceremony but was held on campus so we went back to the Gender and Cultural Studies offices afterwards to dry off and drink champagne in our damp robes. It was actually a fun day!!
Celia shows up at graduation every year to receive the many unwieldy floral tributes bestowed on her by grateful graduands. She says she was “too radical” to attend her undergrad ceremony, but then realised that as her parents had bankrolled her through university, she ought go to her MA and PhD graduation ceremonies for them.
Val is another one of us who didn’t go to their graduation. In the long-term it does get you out of having to supply embarrassing photos for features like this when you’re a big shot professor (although mortar boards can be photoshopped on). Also, it is totally OK not to want to go to the ceremony. You still get your degree!
Here’s Hilde at her PhD graduation back in 2012, feeling proud but also slightly star struck standing next to the famous Marxist economic geographer David Harvey.
David: As these are really rather strange times, I thought I’d share a strange picture on my graduation day receiving my PhD from the father of modern sociology Anthony Giddens in 2001 at the LSE. I cringe at the thought that I seem to have an audience with a seated king on his throne!!
Francis: I remember my gender studies lecturers (the very eminent Professors Jackie Stacey and Sarah Franklin) telling me that graduation robes were designed to be worn with a “man’s” shirt and tie (the hood hooks onto your shirt buttons and the tie covers it up), and I took this as an excuse to wear a suit and tie to my undergraduate graduation. There is, however, no excuse for not tucking in my shirt.
Emily, currently on sabbatical/marooned in Spain and unable to access those graduation photos buried deep in a loft somewhere in the UK, did manage to find this photo from her brother’s graduation – she’s wearing his hat! It still as an air of summer celebration to it, and some fine sandstone in the background.
Jennifer has been ‘in exile’ and without access to their full photographic back catalogue…or their full wardrobe, so they couldn’t even model this year’s graduation outfit for you. In lieu of a photo of their graduation (unobtainable despite much hassling of friends) here they are in the wilds of Scotland, practicing some serious social distancing.
Ben: I couldn’t find any graduation pictures (ok I could, but they are awful), and so I picked this one instead. This apparently serene springtime photo was taken a few hours after the final exam of my third year. I acutely remember the terrible state I’d got myself in that morning; the accumulating stress that led to me abandoning the second answer and walking out early, certain I’d messed it all up. I guess I’ve chosen it now as a token of solidarity with those of you who have struggled at some point along the way: I fucking hate exams.
Congratulations to you all again, and we’re looking forward to celebrating your successes in person as soon as that’s possible.
The Sociology Team