From Graduands To Graduates

My doctoral robes (Copyright © 2012 University of Plymouth [Dr Richard Billington])

My doctoral robes (Copyright © 2012 University of Plymouth [Dr Richard Billington])

This coming Monday (16th Sept) is the graduation ceremony for our School - our current graduands (having completed their degree but having not yet formally graduated to become a Bachelor of Science) will be formally awarded their degree and conferred the rank of Bachelor of Science. This is quite a nice day of the year because not only do we get to dress up smart and don our doctoral robes, we also get to say goodbye to our students as they return to Plymouth once more to accept their degree and then go off into the world. Last year, I only knew one student who was graduating - he was about to join me to start his Ph.D a week later - but this year I know a whole two - my 2012-2013 dissertation students. I was on a slightly reduced teaching load for 2012-2013 academic year in that I didn't have to take the full suite of project students but next year, I'm happy that I'll know most of the students graduating, which will be nice. It's a very odd experience being there as basically an observer - I'm looking forward to being more of a part of it next year. The first time I ever wore my doctoral robes was at someone else's graduation ceremony - in fact, I've not been to ceremonies for either of my two degrees - couldn't be bothered (it's not something I regret, to be honest) but it's nice to be there for my own students. 

What else have I been up to in the last few weeks? Well, BioORE has had it's first team meeting up in Birmingham and is now well under way - it's very exciting to be leading my first major Consortium Project and I have a wonderful team behind me who are all very giving and supportive and producing some really nice science. I've mainly been preparing for the new academic year in many ways - module websites, lecture slides, handouts, making sure it all suits my disabled students, trying to organise myself for an exceptionally heavy teaching load in the next few months so that I can walk through that side of things and keep my focus on BioORE. I'm exhausted - really I am - but I've never been happier professionally than in the last 18 months and I get to work with some lovely, warm, sharp, hilarious, intelligent people who're making me up my game every day - for the first time in my life I feel like I'm "a biologist" or even "a scientist" rather than being blinkered and thinking narrowly as a bacteriologist that only focussed heavily on two or three things - I'm still heavily, heavily focussed on them but my sight has been widened and I'm able to work on some fascinating projects at the moment.