Graduation 2023

Here we are at that bittersweet moment of the year. We all knew it was coming, yet we couldn’t help but feel a twinge of happiness and fear.

“Graduation day” may evoke the image of students completing their studies and receiving diplomas, but at MUWCI, it signifies much more. It’s a day where students witness the culmination of their efforts, struggles, and hard work being acknowledged and rewarded. Moreover, it marks the conclusion of their two-year journey at MUWCI, highlighting many experiences, from moments of joy and triumph to challenges and emotional exhaustion.

The graduation ceremony was scheduled for Saturday, 20th of May, in the afternoon, but it actually began in the morning for the second year and some first-year students. While most firsties were still asleep, the second-years attended graduation rehearsals. Only those involved in the graduation committee or assisting as ushers were awake at that early hour.

After the rehearsals, a brunch was organized for the second year, prepared by the Sodexo staff. It was an unusual Saturday brunch, as they typically occurred on Sundays. This brunch allowed the school and the Sodexo staff to bid and express their goodbyes.

Following the brunch, everyone was busy preparing for the graduation ceremony. The staff, first-year, and soon-to-be graduates were running around and texting in the group’s chats. Some were looking for missing accessories, and some were hoping to borrow some clothes from each other. As the parents began to arrive at 1 pm, they were welcomed by lively music played by school staff and guided by friendly and smiling ushers. While everyone was seated in the mph, refreshments were also served to the attendees. The graduation ceremony officially started at 3 pm.

After an inspiring speech by our head of college, Gaurav, the second-year students entered the hall under the crowd’s applause. First-year parents and staff members stood up to show respect and congratulate the second year who had completed their two-year journey and were now ready to reap the rewards of their hard work. Witnessing their confident and joyful entrance into the hall was genuinely heartwarming.

The second years took their seats following their entrance, and the ceremony commenced. First, we got the chance to hear an inspiring speech from Malaika Vaz, a MUWCI alumna currently working with National Geographic as a filmmaker and a defender of nature’s rights, explaining her experience after being in MUWCI and encouraging the soon-to-be-graduated students not to give up despite the difficult times that they may face in the future. Following that, each Wada parent delivered a touching and unique speech, highlighting the achievements of the second-year students as a whole before individually calling them to receive their diplomas. These speeches were filled with emotion, humor, energy, and special moments, often bringing tears to the eyes of those in attendance. They exemplified the immense pride the Wada parents felt for their second years, having witnessed their growth over the years. It was also a powerful and poignant moment when the second-years chanted the chants of their respective Wada’s for the last time after each speech. From Wada 1, sexy like a Sunday brunch, Wada 2 ouga ouga, Wada 3, Deep in the heart, Wada 4, along with the hymn and Wada 5, who’s the Wada that’s alive.

Between each Wada presentation, there were captivating performances by firsties, teachers, and second-year students to lighten the atmosphere and provide moments of relaxation. Finally, after all the second-year students received their diplomas from Gaurav and posed for memorable pictures, they surprised us, firsties, with a heartfelt song, leaving many in tears. That marked the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, leaving us simultaneously happy and profoundly saddened by the realization that we wouldn’t see our second-year friends anymore.

Afterwards, as everyone exited the mph, they gathered outside for photographs, capturing the essence of that particular day. Tears flowed from first-year and second-year students and parents while conversations filled the air, marking the final moments for some individuals. Soon after, it was time for the firsties to leave the second-years, as they joined their parents and other staff members for a memorable and final dinner prepared by Sodexo. The firsties were not permitted to attend this dinner but were encouraged to eat in the cafeteria as usual. For us, it turned out to be a chaotic dinner as we hurriedly worked to execute our surprise for the second year. We « kidnapped » the second year from their exclusive dinner and brought them back to the MPH to remind them how their journey had begun. Through videos, a fake math test hiding heartfelt letters, and dances, we firsties expressed our goodbyes to the second years who had supported us throughout the year. It was our way to thank them for their significant impact on our lives, show them how much we love them, and tell them that we will profoundly miss them. In addition to that, they also got to watch their second years( our third years), who congratulated them and expressed how proud they were.

As the event concluded, some second year and firsties departed immediately, leading to tearful hugs and the exchange of cute words and advice in the parking lots. For those who remained, an overnight breakfast was organized after the MUWCI tradition of repainting the wall with the second-year marks. It was an opportunity for the new graduate to write, paint or draw on the wall of the social centre people or events that made their MUWCI journey exceptional and incredible. They also returned the letters they wrote to their future selves during their first hike in MUWCI.

Thus, graduation ended as a poignant mixture of emotions. We had to say goodbye to our second years and come to terms with the fact that we wouldn’t be firsties anymore. Thoughts of “Will we really survive without them?” started pulling up in the minds of many first years, yet we chose to savor the present as we could without overthinking about the future. On the other hand, parents radiated immense pride for their children, while some staff members and firsties were emotional about leaving their second years. Throughout the day, it was evident in the MUWCI community that the organizers had poured their hearts into making this event unforgettable, from the fantastic grad committee team to the dedicated efforts of the Sodexo staff in creating a memorable final meal. As a result, emotions permeated the air, enveloping the entire day at MUWCI.

To our second years, we love you and wish you lots of luck and happiness in whatever paths life takes you because you all truly deserve it. We will deeply miss you all.

Author – Julia Ntakwinja, Raouda Kinassa


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