I've been feeling a bit sorry for our undergraduates this year. I'm not sure that May Balls etc give the image of Cambridge that I would most like to project, but I really dont see why they shouldnt let their hair down, binge drink or whatever for a week -- because almost all of them have been working themselves sick for months.
This year the post exam celebrations have been rather rained on -- and there's not been much opportunity for languidly sprawling on the grass.
Some rituals go on nonetheless. Tomorrow the Newnham students have their graduation, in the senate house and then in college. Although I never graduated in the formal sense myself (crushed with embarrassment at all that flummery, and not being quite sure how to navigate divorced parents), I actually rather enjoy this. Partly because the students are happy (this year 2 of them got firsts and 4 of them 2.1s -- so how could they not be?), and partly because I get to meet the Mums and Dads etc, which is always fun.
To be honest I am not all that keen on the new habit of involving the parents all the way through. I realise I'm off message on this one, but I dont much like it when Mum and Dad turn up with junior t the interview, and I dont go to the 'meet the parents' sessions we now have. I think for the three or four years they are with me, it's the students that are my business; and that's only disrupted by contact with their parents.
That said, I love getting to know them when all is done -- and some I've kept in touch with a bit. Only once, about 20 years ago, has any Mum or Dad NOT been great to meet (on that occasion the Dad in question gave me a good ticking off for his daughter's 2.2, which made me see what the poor girl had had to put up with.