I matriculated this week.
Matriculation is the official process of admission into a school. It might seem funny seeing as I’ve already been studying there for over a month.
The procedure is this: we don academic robes, engage in a little ceremony in the chapel, and the climax of all this excitement is when we sign the matricula (latin for ‘register’), a huge old book that looks like it contains magic spells.
My suspicion as to why the ceremony takes place so late in the year is the university waits until after the date where students can drop out with a tuition refund to make sure no one who’s leaving the school gets to sign the old book.
We borrow our academic robes from the school. We leave our student IDs as collateral for the loaned robes. I forgot my ID in the basement of the building and offered to leave my engagement ring with the register as collateral instead, then I thought better and ran back downstairs to fetch my ID.
We march outside in our gowns and head over to the church where the chaplin greets us outside. He’s an older gentleman with a white beard down to the middle of his chest.
He quirks an eyebrow, “I presume you’ve been told you’ll need to recite some latin?”
No. No one said anything about latin.
“If you get it right,” he says, “The wooden eagle statue at the front of the church will take off and soar around the ceiling three times… I’ll let you know right before we begin the blood sacrifice so that you can close you’re eyes if you’re squeamish.”
We head into the chapel and say our latin:
Ego in Universitate Collegii Regalis discipulus sancte polliceor me legibus pariturum, traditionesque meliores eius culturum, ita ut praeceptis eius convivendi edutitionisque oboediam, necnon ipsius academiae dignitatem atque saluten quantum in me fuerit per reliquam vitam procuraturum.
Then we see the translation below:
*I, a student of the University of King’s College, do solemnly promise that I will obey her regulations and best traditions in order to serve the precepts of communal life and of learning, and that of the rest of my life, so far as in me lies, I will care for the honour and welfare of this College.*
Turns out I’ve sworn a lifetime oath. Sure thing King’s, you got me.
After the ceremony, we retired into the adjoined president’s lodge for some sparkling water and chocolate wafers.
We pretend the wafer sticks are wands and we’re in Harry Potter. That’s why everyone comes to King’s in the first place, right?
Following the signing of the matricula, there’s a formal meal in the dining hall. It’s pretty Harry Potter in here too.
There are large glass windows and the high ceilings are vaulted. If some industrious arts student used some projection mapping on the ceiling with a starry overlay, it would look pretty bang-on to Hogwarts.
This Week’s Reading:
- Did you know there are various collections of Great Books made my academic bodies? These are books thought to be essential to any foundation in Western education. I’d love to read a whole list, but they’re huge! Have you read many on here?
- How I Make Money as a Travel Blogger in 2015 is a pretty good resource for anyone wondering how it can work. It’s all about multiple income streams, baby.
- This cranky old man will tell you how to be a better journalist.
- You all know Nikon as a camera manufacturer, but in Japan they’re also known for their Yōkan, a sweet cake with a jelly consistency made from red bean paste and sugar. You can even buy them on the Nikon website.
- The NYT Lens Blog is one of my favourite places for photojournalism stories. This week I looked at a tale of slavery, sugar, Jamaica and Scotland, and this body of work made in postwar Japan by a female photographer. Make sure you check out the slideshows at the top of the stories to see all the images.
- It’s not very often than we get to see such well done series of portraits of North Korean women.
- What did a war photographer’s workflow look like in Afghanistan in 2008?
- Some news organizations still ask photographers to use their work for free, even Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers.
- Japan’s first female photojournalist is still alive and making photos at the age of 101. This woman is a hero.