Despite a high grade point average and confirming with my academic and program advisors six times that I was on-track to graduate, I didn’t allow myself to really exhale until I heard my name called at my commencement ceremony and walked across the stage, brushing sweat from my palms off onto the fringes of my black robes.
In what must have been the most anxiety-provoking evening of their lives, my irrational nightmare became a reality for several students at the University of Edinburgh. A select group of students mistakenly received an email from the Student Services Team telling them that they would not be graduating.
“Graduation Ceremony Cancelled – No Award,” the email read, with all the nonchalance of someone reporting on the weather.
“I saw the header and immediately panicked thinking I must have failed something in the recent exam diet and wouldn’t graduate,” student Calum Mackie told BuzzFeed.
“Dear Calum,” the rest of the email reads, ” You recently registered to attend a graduation ceremony this summer. However, we are now advised that you are not expected to complete your studies until later in the year, therefore we presume that you may be eligible to attend the next available graduation ceremony. If this is not also your understanding please could you contact us immediately.”
Calum wasn’t the only one concerned by the e-mail: one student came home from the bar in tears.
A secondary email correcting the first — surprise, you can graduate after all! — did not come until nine hours after the first scare, Buzzfeed reports.
This series of events could be adapted into an academic horror film, and as someone who once broke out in hives because my Papa John’s pizza was so late, my deepest sympathies are with the students who thought for one heartbreaking moment (or nine hours) that they weren’t graduating after all.