It was December graduation.
I was interested in becoming a graduation ambassador because I was not sure if I want this kind of graduation ceremony if I graduated. My scholarship doesn’t include graduation allowance. If I want a graduation ceremony, it will be on my own expense; and it is not cheap. So, I’m not interested. Therefore, I became a graduation ambassador to feel the vibe, and in case it could change my mind. Besides, there will be a certificate, letter of reference, and coles voucher for ambassadors. I really wanted the last one.
A graduation ambassador is primarily a volunteer, but Monash community division called it ‘ambassador.’ There were few roles that could be chosen by the ambassadors, such as walk-with graduates ambassador, cloakroom ambassador, marquee ambassador, information center ambassador, and floating ambassador. The easiest one is the cloakroom ambassador, and the toughest one is the marquee ambassador, especially in the photography stall. The most fun one is walk-with graduate, especially if you are an extrovert.
I was an information center ambassador on Tuesday in front of Robert Blackwood Hall. My job was to let people know where they should take the gown, where the ceremony held, where they could buy the photography session, etc. The graduation was held in Monash Clayton, but apparently, not everyone is from Clayton Campus. Monash has campuses in Peninsula, Caulfield, Parkville, and other. So that is why some people were not familiar with Clayton campus.
It was okay, but I was pretty bored because I had to answer the same questions over and over again. I was tired too because I had a double shift. I had to stand there for approximately 7 hours. Besides, it was very sunny, and I totally got tanned.
Then on Thursday, I was a floating ambassador and I literally ‘floated’ everywhere. I ended up in the marquee.
I was in the photography session; the one in the corner. My job was to make sure they line-up neatly and to make sure they didn’t take a long time there.
Not surprisingly, there was a very long queue. Everyone wants to take pictures there. And there was one parent who seemed really annoyed, and he was so impatient.
He tapped me on the shoulder, stood 5cm in front of me, and spoke with a rising tone, “Look they take a too long time just to take a photo there. They should see it is a long queue here!”
I was quite startled, and to be honest I don’t like people who violate my personal space. You know, according to Hall (1973, as cited in Zhu, 2014) —I know this is kinda serious– there are four levels of personal space, that is:
- Intimate distance (0-46 cm) between family members, vocalization is delivered in a soft voice or whisper.
- Personal distance (46cm-121 cm) informal conversation between family members, friends, and colleges. Vocalization is louder but remains casual.
- Social distance (121 cm-366cm) formal conversation, vocalisation is louder
- Public distance (366cm-above) formal occasion, such as give speech.
I didn’t like that he stood too close to me because he was a stranger, but I did understand that he might not realize this stuff and he was super annoyed. I explained and tried to calm him as best I could. I said, “Thank you for being patient, I told them to be hurried.”
Then, I watched over the graduates and the family to make sure they didn’t take a long time there. I felt like I was a bad guy, but they should understand because there was literally a bunch of people who wanted to take a photo there.
Besides that one parent, there was another parent who annoyed with me when I was asking her and her family to be hurried. The grandma, I supposed, replied in Mandarin. Like, how the heck I could understand that. I just smiled and looked at her expression, and I could guess that she nagged at me using Mandarin.
It was tough being there, and my friends said so.
On Friday, I was on the marquee again, but I was at the front door. It was pretty easy because I just had to greet people like, “Welcome! Congratulation!”, and make sure they come out in the exit door.
It was fun meeting a lot of people from different culture and countries, and see their expressions when I greet them. But, at the end of the day, I lost my voice and the nexy day I got sore throat and flu.
Yet, it was such a great experience working with these great people. Our group was so multicultural. We had Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, Bangladesh, and Australian representatives. I want to enroll as graduation ambassador again if I could.
Then, does it change my mind? Do I want a graduation? By the time I write this post, no. I think graduation is fun. It is a moment of life, such a touched moment. Yet, I still do not really want it.