Collected my Master of Arts degree and the snow miraculously melted away on the eve of graduation. It was a lovely day, the university put on some great celebrations. Helen Vendler was receiving an honorary doctorate for her work in poetry, which includes 24 academic books, and she gave an inspirational speech about the importance of literature in the world. It was very welcome for the many humanities students graduating into an uncertain economic climate. The ceremony lasted about an hour and a half, and nobody fell onstage (I was sure that I would topple, my heels were ridiculous!) Afterwards, there were tonnes of photos – every QUB graduate gets a photo with the marble statue of Galileo in the Lanyon building (in whose noble company it is not sacrilege to stand on graduation day!) And our silly hats were a hit! We’re on the QUB website, and we got in the local papers – and the photos are memorably silly. In the marquee there was a band playing and refreshments (tea or champagne to stave off the cold). The School of English had a party for its cohort, then a large group of us went to Deane’s for lunch, which turned into a delightfully jovial affair. The MA politics class and the MA English people had a few celebratory shandies on Friday night in the Student Union and there was some enthusiastic dancing. A fun day.