Friday, 5 October 2012

Memorable matriculation

A matriculation dinner in Cambridge is a very special rite of passage that I have now witnessed for the fifth time. It started with a group photo in front of the college, which I didn't go to, but when I entered the Combination Room at five to seven it was crammed beyond capacity. Or perhaps I had just forgotten how many students we have. I managed to identify some of "ours" and started a conversation over a glass of wine while suddenly fire alarm went, and we were all pushed out through the two glass doors into pouring rain. It took some time. If it had been real danger some of us might have died. There we were, in our party outfits, and I didn't even have my warm and cosy gown because the instruction had been "No gowns" (some people wore them anyway). Finally, we were allowed back, and the matriculation ceremony began, the Tutor calling out names, and the students stepping forward to sign the Book. (You only matriculate once, so students who have studied at Cambridge before don't have to do it. Once you have done it, your name remains in the Book for all eternity). Around the letter P, the alarm went again. The two hundred students and professors went out through two glass doors into pouring rain. It was weird. Something really memorable for the students to look back at.

The rest of the evening was uneventful. I left half through the Ceremony of the Horn.

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