Memories of Congregation

Syazana Aziz and Isabella Briers

Syazana Aziz, St Cuthbert’s Society, 2021

The day of my congregation was magical! The sun was out, the wind was blowing – (though a bit too strongly, it actually helped make the pictures look more alive)! 

My parents’ first time abroad!

My congregation day was a special one because it was the first time for my parents to go abroad and it was even more meaningful because it was to celebrate my graduation.

I am originally from Malaysia, and was studying in Durham under a scholarship which also means that my family couldn’t just pop up in Durham to see how I was doing in a place so far from home.

Decisions to make and plenty of sightseeing

Initially, due to the coronavirus, I decided that we wouldn’t be attending my congregation because it would cost too much for my parents and I to fly to the UK from Malaysia. But then after some discussions, we decided to give it a go, so I planned for the trip. We ended up visiting a few places in London and around Northumberland. I’m glad that we made that decision together because now, we share beautiful memories of our time in the UK which includes the congregation as the main event! 

Isabella Briers, Hatfield College, 2022

My graduation experience came a year later than it should have done so it was hard to know what to expect. All the lists and timings, the places to be and things to get done; everything seemed utterly overwhelming. Then, the day came. And everything fell naturally into place. (And, as importantly, I didn’t fall!)

A grand ceremony full of warmth

All the pictures were taken, nerves were calmed with friends and kind half-strangers who perhaps took that module with me, the ceremony was grand without being totally intimidating, and I managed to get one of those adorable graduation teddy bears – (incredibly hard to resist them). Though there were so many people watching us in the cathedral, they were there because they cared about their person and only wanted to cheer us all on. I felt that warmth from the very start.  

Joy, beautiful surroundings, and familiar faces

Not only were we in the hands of people who knew exactly what they were doing (and exactly what we were supposed to be doing) but we were in an atmosphere which can’t be replicated anywhere else. It was brilliant to spend time with my favourite people in a place where almost every bench, café, and pathway holds a memory. With the joy, the beautiful surroundings, and the familiar faces, we were able to just glide through that lovely day and celebrate. 

Gliding through the day with my favourite people

Discover more

To read about more Congregation memories, click here.

To view Congregation videos (Summer 2022 and Winter 2022), visit links below:

Celebrating Summer Congregation 2022 – YouTube

Celebrating Winter Congregation 2022 – Undergraduate ceremonies – YouTube

Syazana Aziz and Isabella Briers

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