Graduates make their own personal celebrations

Date 9.08.2021

Sharing time with friends and creating extra memories were the order of the day when former students made their own graduation ‘ceremonies’.

The pandemic called a halt to big in-person events, but two graduates were determined to mark finishing their degrees with their own bespoke celebrations.

Mei Sum Li (also known as Jessica, top left) came to the University from Hong Kong to study Podiatry and Namira Putri studied MSc in International Banking and Finance and hails from Indonesia.

Jessica said: “I desperately wanted to be part of a big, in-person graduation ceremony this summer so it was a shame when we were told – very understandably – it wouldn’t be going ahead.

“With my friends still around in Northampton we wanted to make what might be final memories for the group and to celebrate the joy we felt after three year’s hard work, why not get together and do something ourselves?

“So, we organised our caps and gowns (I bought mine on online) met up for lunch to take our photos (my Mum even dialled in on Facetime to see everything and say hello) and then we all went to the cinema to see Fast and the Furious 9! We were all together for what might be the last time in a long time and that was the main thing; it was wonderful.”

Namira had returned to Indonesia some time ago, but still wanted a little well-deserved recognition for her energies during her degree. She said: “I had been looking forward to a physical graduation ceremony and felt sad I couldn’t make the big, special day in September as I now have a job in my home town of Bandung.

“But rather than sitting down and feeling bad about not having the ‘dream’ event, I decided to do something to give myself a little appreciation. I put my best ‘dress code’ on and did my make-up, took a bunch of pictures; I even borrowed my sister’s graduation cap to feel extra special!

“All of my family and friends back home knew this was ‘my’ graduation day, so they sent me flowers and cake (literally a lot!) along with my favourite foods and beverages (ice cream, cookies, coffee and milk). I even got some cash!

“The University created a really cute video with facts about our days at UON and I even danced to a clip of it. That really completed the ‘graduation ambience’ I was longing for; it felt amazing to have my own little graduation.

“Since I came back to Indonesia, I feel like my time in Northampton was too short. I miss studying all night in the Learning Hub, I miss the friends I made there and the pubs and the live music. In short, I miss it all and I hope to come back in the near future.”