SO the thing is, I graduated this past weekend in Grahamstown and out of all the lovely memories and stories I want to share with you, the most outstanding one is about the red gown. Rhodes University’s PhD gown is a red academic robe accompanied by a velvet cap. When I heard the PhD students’ dissertations being read out and watched as they were being capped, hooded and receiving their doctorate caps, I felt an urge.

Already dressed, capped and hooded by Chancellor Jakes Gerwel, I felt like a little achiever. But when the time came for the newly declared doctors of philosophy in their specific fields, I felt a tinge of envy. I felt as though someone had just left a diamond necklace with my name on it, at the tip of Mount Kilimanjaro.  

I really want the necklace (red robe), and I’m sort of halfway up the (academic) mountain but just thinking about continuing the uphill hike is not only daunting, but to a ‘not-so-eager-beaver’ like myself I would much rather watch someone else reach the top – on DVD, sitting on a couch eating popcorn.

Anyway, I really want to wear that red robe, and that’s what I was thinking about all weekend while I was there celebrating my undergraduate degree. It’s the first step toward getting to that red robe, the first phase towards reaching the top of my academic mountain and adorning myself with the diamonds, my red robe.  

My mother has an unfortunate habit of ‘taking the fizz outta the pop’ and a classic example of this was on our return from the little nerdy town when she says, “I just hope that after these celebrations and ceremonies, all these graduates get jobs.” What a mood-killer. So there you have it; my trip to the peak of Kilimanjaro has been halted by a mother who wants to reap the rewards of four years of investment in her last born.

I want to wear a red gown too, but it will come in time. Honours is not a joke, I doubt masters is soft on one either, so I’ll give the red robe some alone time before I announce our permanent matrimony.