Presentation and Graduation

Woke at 6.30 a.m. Didn’t feel too good. I
didn’t really feel nervous, but my narrow oesophagus was giving me a hard time
swallowing and insisted on keeping a tank of air in my throat. I didn’t manage
to finish my breakfast.

At 7.45 a.m., Silje and I met Bettina, Gigi
and Alex in the road. We split in two taxis and headed towards campus. Traffic
was not too bad despite the poor weather and we got to Starr Building a little
past 8 a.m.

At 8.30 a.m. everyone had arrived and our
supervisor greeted us with a short welcome speech. And so it began. We followed
the Heavy Water group as number two. Everything went smoothly. I didn’t say too
much silly and neither did any of the other girls. We all knew the material and
held a reasonably good presentation I must say. We braced ourselves for the
post-presentation questions, but the most difficult we got was one on the
background of motivational theories. Nothing we couldn’t handle. Four groups
finished their presentations before lunch. Lunch was held in the restaurant of
the campus hotel at noon. It was not impressive. Hardly anything edible at all.

The presentations continued after lunch.
The questions did not get any harder, although a couple of groups were put a
little on the spot. Generally, we all managed OK, and I think that was all
everyone had hoped for.

At 4 p.m. everyone had given their
presentation and went out in the hall to put on our robes and square hats for
the diploma ceremony. Not quite as formal and proper as it was in Reading, but
an experience none the less. Some professor from Fudan came over to present us
with our diplomas. It was all over in 20 minutes. We then proceeded to walk
across campus in our robes, to the old Nordic centre for the official
graduation picture. Pictures were also taken in front of the statue of Mao by
the main gates. Pictures were taken and hats were thrown. It was a joyous
occasion for sure.

Around 5.30 p.m. we finally left campus for
the last time and headed back to Linping for a short rest before having to get
ready to go out for graduation dinner. I sat quietly in my room for a while,
got ready and headed out to catch the chartered bus.

The bus took us downtown and into an
interesting part of the city that I wouldn’t have normally visited without
making sure I was armed. The building we stopped outside looked like it
belonged in this neighbourhood, but when we walked through the doors we were
pleasantly surprised. The Creek restaurant and gallery turned out to be a very
cozy and spacious locale. An excellent three course dinner, paid for by the Norwegian
School of Management, was served. Speeches were held by class representatives,
thesis supervisor, the director of studies and anyone else who felt like saying
a few words. I considered saying something, but decided against it. Spirits
were high all night. Three years of education had come to an end.

From the restaurant, taxi’s to us to the
Bund and to Lounge 18. We had a few quiet drinks here before going upstairs to
Bar Rouge. A great place to end our stay in Shanghai; with spectacular views
over Pudong and the city. I think we all agreed that we had had a great year in
Shanghai and that it had in fact gone by very quickly – as we had predicted
back in August. Silje had been out with her Shanghai girlfriends, but joined us
at Bar Rouge around 2 a.m.

At 3 a.m. I was exhausted and left. It had
been a long and tiring day, but it felt good to know that presentations and
thesis work now was behind me. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit my pillow.