By Marieke van Beek
After months of preparation, it was finally time for the first graduation week of the class of 2017! On Sunday, the week kicked off with a potluck at Iris her place and everyone brought something to eat and to drink. During dinner, the graduation week committee gave everyone their UCG class of 2017 sweater. We were supposed to have a picnic and a campfire in the Noorderplantsoen. However, due to bad weather circumstances, we managed to get fake fire on the television. Everyone left quite on time, mainly because we had such a busy schedule ahead of us.
The next day it was time for the graduation week gala and we invited all the other years from UCG to come celebrate graduation with us. Everyone dressed up and was very excited for a final party and to celebrate the end of the year. It was a great success, around sixty people showed up and we partied all night long.
On Tuesday, we did not have any activities planned so everyone could recover from the night before and could charge their batteries for the evening activity: the UCG pub quiz. The graduation week committee created their own original quiz about UCG which included questions dealing with facts, IQ, quotes, staff members and intimacy. We organized the quiz at the Souffleur and were allowed to bring our own snacks and everyone just ordered drinks at the bar. On Wednesday, we had a full program that began with kayaking at the Friese Veen. After a twenty minute bike ride, we arrived at our location and sat outside with a cup of coffee enjoying the sun peeking through the clouds. Everyone got into couples and was handed a kayak. Iris and Emma were the first ones to take off and did a wonderful job maneuvering through the water. Tjitske and Josephine also did a great job, but did end up getting stuck in the high grass. Luca and I were not even 3 meters on our way and we already were going backwards which led to a lot of laughter. After some practicing everyone was well on their way and we ended up at a big lake which we decided to cross and to just float a bit in order to enjoy the sunshine. On our way back, we bumped into Chris, Cairo and Frank who were rowing in a little boat. They got close to our kayak and Chris decided to jump on the back of the kayak. He warned us that we should put all of our valuable items and 5 seconds later the three of us ended up in the water. We looked like mud monsters with weed in our hair, but it was actually hilarious.
After this day activity, everyone went home to get ready for the final staff and student dinner. The idea of this dinner was a collaborative effort of cooking. The committee came up with different recipes and assigned these to a combination of students and staff members. Everyone was busy with preparing the food, chatting with each other and enjoying a drink. It was such a great success, everything worked out perfectly and even the weather was great. We also invited staff members that no longer work at UCG, but were part of our three years at UCG and we just really wanted them to be part of this dinner. Afterwards, students and staff members went out for a couple of drinks, but not until very late because all students needed to look fresh for the ceremony the next day.
Waking up Thursday morning felt so double. On one hand, so excited and happy to graduate, but on the other hand, I felt pretty sad about the fact that the UCG chapter was officially coming to an end today. In the morning, we gathered everyone at UCG and we put on our robes and heads. This was for most of the students the first time they got to see them and everyone was very excited. We walked in our robes trough the city of Groningen (yes we got some weird looks) to the academy building for class pictures.
Afterwards, we went back to UCG to take some more class pictures, but also individual pictures. Everyone went off to meet up with their families and to get ready for the official ceremony. Frank, Luca and I stayed behind to practice one more time for our performance. At 16:00 we were all expected to be back and slowly the study landscape started to fill up with parents, brothers, sisters, staff members, friends and many others. We all gathered in one of the class rooms and huddled up until Sienie called for us that it was time to go. We walked into the study landscape and there was a big applause. Frank and I opened the closing ceremony and gave the floor to our dean Hans van Ees. After this Frank, Luca and I entered the stage and we gave an outstanding speech by telling our UCG experiences of the last three years by the hand of music. This was the final part of the closing ceremony and we moved on to the official graduation part. All of the tutors gave a speech about their tutees and sixteen of us officially signed and received our diplomas. Afterwards there were drinks, snacks, tears, many laughs and the realization that the UCG experience for many of us came to an end today. Personally, I can say that UCG has been the best thing that has happened to me so far and as Hugo as mentioned before: “once a UCG’er, always a UCG’er”.
Interested in the Graduation Ceremony of our Class of 2017? Watch the recording here.