Academic life is a poisonpit, but one of its great pleasures came today when my one and only official student passed her viva voce exam, and obtained her PhD. She was the first of her family to go to University, much less obtain a doctorate, and after 5 years of bloody, sweaty and tearful research should be inordinately proud of herself.
I never attended the graduation ceremony for my first degree. I think I went to Stonehenge festival instead, but it's all a little hazy... However, I was persuaded to undergo the graduation ritual by my Dad when I obtained my doctorate. He travelled from the US just for the ceremony. By that time I had a 3 year-old son conceived, gestated, born and raised during a physically tough research project. At my PhD ceremony I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter. I rolled up onto that platform like a pot-bellied pony to get bopped with John Knox's hat and declared a doctor of philosophy. Our family don't go for posed photos much, but my Dad and stepmum keep a shot of me and Dad at that graduation in our respective gowns. My dad had managed to obtain the official robe for a PhD from Berkeley, so he was all kitted out too. I look like a milch cow in the photo, but happy.
I must be the only person alive who didn't have proper piss-up either on submitting my thesis, passing my viva or graduating PhD, since I was pregnant at each. Dammit. I think I had a sneaky joint though, IIRC.
Unfortunately, I won't be joining Dr LA's celebrations tonight- those same kids of mine are with me this weekend so instead I'm mum. But I'll be very proud to attend Dr LA's graduation ceremony next summer.