I still can't quite believe all this just happened a few days ago, but on Friday, I graduated with my PhD in Computer Science! Yay!
Shaking the chancellor's hand on stage
Photo with the Vice Chancellor, Chancellor at a special event afterwards
Chance encounter with former Prime Minister, Sir John Key, at the Arts Centre while taking photos
I've been dreaming of this day for many many years - perhaps since way back when I was a kid some ~20 years ago attending the graduation ceremonies for Dad's many PhD students. While I would've really loved to have graduated in the Town Hall too, what matters more is that I got to get up on stage to recieve my degree, while Dad watched on just metres away seated with the academic party on stage. After all, it's not everyday that an academic gets watch their children graduate with a PhD, and to do so on the same stage too
The memorable moments don't just end there. Within the space of some 24-26 action-packed hours, all of the following happened:
1) We managed to fit in photoshoots at over 6/7 locations, including a little series of photos I'd been planning for several years.
2) While taking photos at the Arts Centre, we ran into former PM, Sir John Key, who just happened to be taking a little guided tour of the rebuild (I swear, we didn't know beforehand that he was going to be there then!). It was great priviledge getting to meet the guy in the flesh and have little chat with him
3) We almost got locked in the Arts Centre, as they were starting to lock up for the day. But, as a result, we got to see for the first time the beauty of the clock tower lobby when those beautiful wooden doors are closed - if you ever get the chance, it is a sight to behold!
4) At the start of the ceremony, the PhD graduates entered the arena last as part of a traditional Maori welcome/protocol. Anyway, while we were lined up in single-file waiting outside the doors, the Maori lady leading the little procession started walking down the line, sizing us up. When she got to me, she beckoned me and the people behind me to follow her to form a second line! No pressure 😂
5) After the ceremony, we got invited to a special function the uni was hosting. Apart from the amazing views up in the corporate box (with the floor all lit up as they rearranged the furniture for the next ceremony), it was also quite amazing getting to take photos with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor!
With the VC and C
Hanging out with Dad
And all that's on top of graduating with a PhD!
At the end of it all, I was a bit sad to have to return all the regalia 😢 In particular, I especially miss the soft cushion-like hat (it's one of the nicest and most comfortable hats I've ever worn! I'm actually quite tempted to get one for myself to wear from time to time actually, haha). Those striking red facings on the gown were also quite nice (though they did get a bit unwieldy in the breezes over those days).