The Week of Graduation: Graduate Reflections

29 Nov 22
two male students walking through the Cathedral grounds wearing graduation gowns

Mahmudul Hassan graduated from the University of Winchester in 2021 from BA (Hons) Marketing. In the year since, Mahmudul has returned to the University to take on a six-month graduate internship within the ‘Development and Alumni’ department. Having had the opportunity to experience Graduation as a staff member this year, he writes about his reflections of the week

"The week of graduation was full of many happy memories and a cause for much joy in the city of Winchester and for the University. The city was bustling with graduates and their proud friends and family throughout the city during the week, posing and basking in the success, triumph and ultimate feeling of pride wearing their gowns and hats.

With each day between Tuesday to Friday holding three graduation events at Winchester Cathedral, there was never a shortfall of emotion, laughter and events. Until the eventual closure at the end of each day whereby all the high energy and emotions comes crashing down all at once leading to exhaustion. All for it to be repeated the next day.

We congratulated a total of over 2,000 graduates and almost 10,000 guests in 12 ceremonies throughout the course of four days. We also welcomed a number of honorary graduates and University fellows to the community. The logistics of the week required a lot of hard work and resilience from the event organizers and the many people who contributed towards the smooth operation for this week.

Day one of graduation saw the ceremony for the Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technologies, and  the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing: the day that saw the largest volume of graduates attend. This was followed by the continuation of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing on Wednesday, and the Faculty of Arts; on Thursday the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences celebrated, and the week concluded with the Faculty of Education.

We at the Winton Society were in the centre of the action hosting a stall in the prestigious Bapsy Hall inside the Guildhall, alongside the professional photography. Here we saw many graduates line up for their picture to be taken whilst having the parents of and the students come to our stand to purchase some  commemorative ‘Class of 2022’ hoodies, as well as other bits of merchandise and memorabilia to retain, and in future, to recollect as a memoir and ode to their past achievements. A popular choice of purchase among both students and parents, was our new product recently added to our product line, the Branded Insulated Stainless-Steel Bottle.

One engaging activity that we, the alumni team, carried out through the week was keeping a large poster board on which graduates were invited to write  three words to describe their time at the University of Winchester.

It was great and interesting to see how the graduates would describe their experience and what their thoughts and feelings were towards the city. It was great going round to see all the graduates and asking them of their opinion and the reasonings for what they thought. Some of our favorite contributions included: 'Supportive', 'Growth', 'Life-Changing', and 'Memorable'.

Along with the 1,500 undergraduates and 650 postgraduates, including the first group of graduates to come out with a Nursing Degree, it was inspiring to hear about the achievements of this years’ honorary graduates. Award winning journalist Melanie Reid MBE, Winchester based novelist and former student of the University Claire Fuller, British Paralympian Aaron Phipps MBE, and Sir Akhlaq Choudhury QC, the first British-Bangladeshi and Muslim to be appointed in the High Court, are those awarded with the prestigious honour, to name a few.

Overall, I found the experience of graduation working as staff to be very different from that of a student. Working as staff provided me with behind-the-scenes access not many students are able to witness, allowing me to see exactly how big of a process it is running graduation week. As a student I did not see how many small functioning parts there are to create and maintain such a smooth event. Seeing the happy faces and students in their gowns reminded me of my own graduation the previous year, remembering how special of a day it was for myself. This encouraged me to give my all to ensure all graduates are able to have as memorable of a day as I did, if not better! I particularly enjoyed speaking to the graduates and learning how they found their experience at the University of Winchester and what their favourite memories were."

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