Matriculation is one of those weird things I heard about over and over when people mentioned the special “Oxford” things. I would of course ask them many questions on it because it just seemed so foreign to me, and then thought I understood it, but I really did not having now gone through it.
I woke up on Saturday morning, 13 October 2018, quizzically looking at my sub fusc and academic gown (another one of those strange “Oxford” things) wondering why in the heck I needed to dress up and go listen to a ceremony in Latin when I had already been at Oxford for a month and started classes. I know it was purely ceremonial, it wasn’t as if there would be all these great friends you would get to see walk along stage like at graduation, families were not there…again, why do people always talk with such fondness about matriculation?
Well, it isn’t really a logical reason, but I have to say it was honestly a magical day that you just have to experience to then be able to sit there and say “Oh, now I get it.” Yes, it is a feeling more akin to graduation for me personally, but at the same time it had a very different feeling as well because it is all about hope and possibility for the year of education ahead and what it could be, rather than reflection and celebration on the year you just had.
It many ways it is the culmination of all the work it took to get to Oxford, to celebrate the fact that you are in the Sheldonian in the seats that so many greats have sat, and your name is now on the rolls with theirs. I now have one thing in common with those inspirational leaders whose history intrigued me in the first place to even consider Oxford.
You matriculate by college (not by programme of study), so first I had to head to my college, Kellogg.
Kellogg is a huge college, so we had to be up early to report to make sure everyone was actually there and accounted for (which is how your name gets recorded as having matriculated), and then we marched down to the Sheldonian Theatre for the ceremony. This was not the greatest as it was lightly sprinkling rain (and had been all morning), but we eventually made it inside for the very brief ceremony. It honestly took us longer to head in and then head out than the ceremony itself (two lines in Latin and a 3 minute speech in English by the Vice Chancellor). However, all these things still in consideration, the Sheldonian was awesome to see inside and the overall feeling was so otherworldly that you really did feel “Oh my goodness, what am I now a part of – it is something really special.”
Luckily, it was not a dreary day. Just as we walked out, it was a “Matriculation Miracle” – the sun was out and it was a gorgeous day!
We all took advantage of this with a fun disbursement of classmates to take a TON of pictures around all the pretty places in Oxford – Radcliffe Camera, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Bodleian Libraries to name a few.
While my journey may have already started before matriculation, I can honestly say that matriculation was that marker that really made me say I really am “here” as a student at Oxford.Back to top of article