So I leave tomorrow- this is my last night in England.
I don’t think I’m a massively sentimental person, but I would say I’m at least pensive- so I’m having a think back on my six years here: how much fun it’s been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve achieved. I’m happy to say that while obviously there have been social situations where I’ve said the wrong thing (or things I would have liked to have done more etc.) I don’t think I have any major regrets.
We had our “Declaration Ceremony” on Sunday- it’s like a graduation, but not. It’s more of a ceremony where you profess to follow the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, but family are invited to take the obligatory photos of you prancing about in a gown and a funny-looking hood (ours were hot pink with white fluff. Manly)
While essentially it was one big queue, I had a fricking great time. Hearing my name being read out and having some applause/cheer was a fantastic feeling, and in true Michael style I had the stupidest grin on my face when I went up to the front. At the end though, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I would be saying bye to people. So all of a sudden I found myself trying to thank people in about thirty seconds for being the kick-ass, superfriendly people that they have been for several years. Naturally I failed completely, and so afterwards I sent a few soppy text messages and got to ruminating.
And now I’m leaving.
At the risk of sounding like the most pretentious d*****bag ever, I’m reminded of a poem I heard several years ago. I think it was originally written in Chinese and to be completely honest half of the language/imagery doesn’t work very well, for example I’ve never quite understood the line “I would be a water plant”
The last sentence has always struck me though- it describes a visiting scholar called Xu Zhimo, on the evening he’s leaving Cambridge. The place is at heart the same it has always been, and will very much remain so for a long time. While I’m extremely lucky to have studied here, and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot/possibly made a difference in some people’s lives, Cambridge itself will remain unchanged by my presence. It’s not necessarily a sad feeling, but it’s kind of poignant. His poem ends on a bit that does in fact translate well, and to me talks about how that feels:
Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away
This is it guys. It’s been a pleasure
I’M A DOCTOR. LIKE AN ACTUAL DOCTOR.
I keep remembering this and either getting a stupid grin on my face or having a wee wiggle dance to celebrate.
To actually celebrate we had our graduation ball last night which was fantastic. Spent the evening going round to everyone saying “Hello Dr Smith”, “Hello Dr Whithershins” which was THE MOST FUN THING EVER. There was also a fireworks display which felt amazing to watch because it was essentially put on just for us.
The dean spoke for a bit, and admitted that although the university always goes on about what makes a good doctor, she couldn’t not leave us without three principles to follow, so I’m writing them down here so I don’t forget:
- Competence- first and foremost, be good at your job and know how to help people
- Attention to detail- follow things up, don’t take things for granted and always keep your eyes open
- Kindness- often overlooked, but it’s a job that revolves entirely around interacting with others, and I’ve seen myself how this can pay dividends
Anyway I’d best head off as my family are arriving in a few hours and I have a lot of packing that should be finished before then.
One last time: I’M A DOCTOR NOW
Written on 23rd June, 18:14
How to round up six years? Finals are over, and I feel like now that I’m coming to the end I need to be churning out deep poignant sayings that could end up written over stock photos as inspirational posters, or saying super-emotional goodbyes to people. Buuuut that doesn’t seem to be happening so maybe I just won’t.
Nevertheless, these six years have been pretty momentous as a period in my life. It’s a hefty chunk, and arguably as you’ve flown the nest and are trying a lot of new things, it’s the most formative period. Your brain finishes developing around this time, and you become the person that you’re going to roughly be for the rest of your life. Don’t worry yourself though- I’m not going to waste the valuable space on the internet with armchair-philosophical ruminations on the man I’ve become, as much as you’d love to read about it I’m sure.
I spent the weekend in London attempting to see as many people as possible before I leave England and I actually managed to do a decent job of it- I managed to see a fair number of people, and to spend a decent amount of time with each of them- the worry is that you have to dash off after about five minutes of spending time with people that you used to hang out with for whole days. Of course, there was food involved (rooftop terrace burgers, homemade pancakes fancy dim sum, Selfridge’s ice cream and sourdough pizza) and I managed to squeeze in a few nice views of London’s skyline and even a trip to the old Olympic park. The people I’ve met here have really been fantastic, and I’m grateful to them all for helping me enjoy myself so much over these few years.
This week involves several Last Suppers, LASER QUEST, packing away my life and throwing away some of my endless clutter and then (hopefully) officially becoming a doctorrrrrr. Before graduating and fecking off out of this place. I have a graduation ball on Friday which I’m really looking forward to and then the fam are coming over at the weekend to celebrate! I can see it becoming a bit of a blur. Which thankfully the past six years have managed not to be- I’ve enjoyed myself to such a huge amount, and as much as dead-inside-Michael can manage, I’ll miss England.