Saturday, 16 June 2012

The (hopeful) graduation ball...

Last night was the graduation ball. The re-take is in two weeks, so I don't yet know if I'm graduating. I remain fairly convinced I won't be - I've bought the guest tickets and am wondering about what to wear, but all in a "just in case the unimaginable happens and I am actually supposed to be there" kind of way, not in a way that I expect to be there at all.

I'd originally decided that I wouldn't go to this ball for this reason, but friends persuaded me, and I did half want to go, especially since I was so gutted that for my original graduation ball - the one I would have gone to had I not intercalated for my BSc for a year and then taken a year out - my friends forgot to (or decided not to) tell me about it or invite me. The photos of every single one of my original medical school friends at the ball without me were a little tough to see.
Anyway, I decided to go. My main trepidations were that it would take time away from revising and would be difficult to go to before having finished exams. I didn't pay attention to the idea that at the grad ball everyone else would know they were graduating, and I wouldn't. Well, about four other people there don't yet know, but since there were over 170 in attendance...

Going to the grad ball before knowing I'm graduating was very very odd. Much as the other half kept reminding me that I had as much right to be there as anybody else, it didn't feel like it at all. I felt like a spectator rather than a participant.

The worst was walking in to the dining room in the fancy hotel to take our seats for dinner. All the place names said Dr so-and-so for everyone graduating. That was hard. There was one at my table place saying Dr TTBAMS, which on the one hand is lovely because it means the guys who made them believe I'll pass, but on the other hand it's bloody horrible because I am not yet Dr TTBAMS. It all got a bit too much for me... I couldn't really hold it together and started crying. Everyone at the next table were taking group photos with everyone holding their little Dr place name, which made it worse. Thank goodness for waterproof make-up (yes me, in make-up), and for dinner jackets requiring a silk hanky in the pocket (or maybe it's just that other half does these things properly - it did match his bow tie). Thank goodness also that our table was in the corner, and that no one else had yet arrived at the table - my friends were pushing fashionably late to the limit. Thank goodness also for the wonderful other half, who reassured me that I do deserve the place name, but tactfully turned it away and moved it out of my view for the rest of the evening.
I regained my composure, but it wasn't the best way to start the night. I don't think I was great company all night really, conversation dried up where it wouldn't usually.

In retrospect I should have given a little more thought to the difficulties I might encounter during the evening, other than my bad my nail varnish skills were. And I should have approached it with dignity in mind. I think focusing on celebrating other people's achievements, rather than dwelling on my own lack thereof, might have helped.

Friends have said we'll have a celebratory get together, with the sweets (goody bags), glowsticks and lottery scratchcards from last night, but I don't know if it will happen as I get my results after term is over and people will have gone on holiday.

In conclusion: it wasn't a great night. But I don't regret going, really, I regret not being better emotionally prepared. If I hadn't gone, I would have regretted it.

Other half told me last night he's saved my place name, ready for when I am Dr TTBAMS. I'll have a party all of my own when the time comes. Whenever that may be...

No comments:

Post a Comment