Shoe Time!

I remember it was reported last year that someone moon-walked with the Mace.  I remember seeing a student take a selfie with the Chancellor as he collected his degree.  I remember another student conducting the audience in cheers.  But, first and foremost, I remember the shoes.

I suppose when you’re indistinguishable in your gown, mortar board and colours from the next student, the one thing you can do to reclaim your identity is to put your best, most glamorous, foot forward.

Last week I attended my second GSM London graduation at the Barbican and the ladies did not let me down.  I believe it was Marilyn Monroe who once said:  “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”.  And with these statement shoes our students really were ready to conquer the world.  Add a BSc/BA/MSc/MBA to that and you can guarantee some serious universe-conquering action is going to follow.

I first noticed ‘graduation shoes’ when I attended my nephew’s graduation.  All the women were wearing vertigo-inducing heels in shapes, styles and sizes that made this flatty-loving individual’s eyes water.  I asked him what was behind it and he replied that they had all made a pact to do so.  It was impressive the way they carried themselves across the stage.  As each one came up I was convinced a trip was on the cards, but it didn’t happen.  It was plain sailing all the way.

The internet offers a whole host of tips when it comes to dressing for graduation and a lot them focus on shoes. Teen Vogue: pictures 13 heels it states you can “actually walk” in. Looking at them I would say that’s a matter of opinion.  Pin Interest:  has several boards dedicated to these skyscrapers of the feet and, in an article illustrated with an image made up of gown, mortar board and teeth, David  Ellis in The Telegraph suggests that wearing new shoes to the ceremony could indicate you’re not as bright as your degree makes out.  From my point of view, If you can hit the ground running in gravity-defying heels, traverse the stage with your head held high, shake the Chancellor’s hand and manage the steps the other side, yours is world, my friend and everything in it.

Purple and silver shoesGSM London students owned the stage at Graduation, making it their own when it came to footwear. For me the star of the show were these purple and silver beauties. The student wearer was impressive gliding across the stage, offering her fans a rather queenly wave.

Black and whiteFollowing hot on her heels were these strappy little numbers that reminded me of ‘101 Dalmations’.  Cruella De Ville would have been proud.  Their owner told me that she bought them then she built a whole wardrobe of clothes and accessories around them. I shared with her the fact that I did the same with a pair of earrings.

Silver bowsThese stunning peep-toes in silver, showed off elegantly painted nails and two very cute bows at the ankle finished off the look nicely.  They certainly came a close third in my Graduation Shoe Stakes.  The soon-to-be-graduate was completely bemused by being asked to show them off.

White block platformThis GSM London student wanted something to match her jumpsuit and she felt these were the perfect pair.  Questioned as to whether she had any concerns about getting across the stage safely, she crossed her fingers and smiled.

PinkLast, but by no means least, a pair of incredibly pink peep-toe stilettos.  There is pink, then pink, then there are these.  Their owner, a Human Resources Management student, was also up for a special award and thrilled that her shoes had been noticed.

I think back to my graduation and remember a rather sober affair with sensible shoes and dress.  The one flamboyant act was the graduate who sported shocking pink hair and received a spontaneous round of applause for her daring.  Now, it would be seen as just par for the course.


It’s Good to Work/Walk

A number of years ago an article in a Sunday newspaper (I can’t remember which.) started me on the road to ‘Blogdom’.  It was entitled The No Diet Diet.  There was also a book (There’s always a book.), written by Professor Ben Fletcher, Dr Karen Pine and Dr Danny Penman.  The simple lesson was this:  “People are over-weight because they are imprisoned by their bad habits…break these hidden habits so you can effortlessly lose weight.”

At the time my evening routine, on returning from work, consisted of plopping myself down in front of the TV and ‘chilling’.  The article suggested that to break this kind of ‘bad habit’ you should write something – anything – for 15 minutes, then stop. It didn’t matter whether or not you had come to the end.  You did your 15 minutes and you stopped.  So, one evening I sat down and wrote about starting The No Diet Diet. Once I had finished I realised I could do this every day in a Blog, sharing the different ways in which I was trying to break my bad habits.  Thus I found myself on the road to ‘Blogdom’.

So, what has this got to do with it being good to work/walk, you’re thinking.  Well, in previous jobs I considered lunch breaks to be for Whimps.  For me there always seemed to be so much to do that it was easier to pop to the canteen, get a sandwich and be back at my desk in minutes to carry on working.  But now that I’m at GSM London as a Careers Adviser I have two very good reasons to break that bad habit.  With campuses in Greenwich and Greenford, two great London locations, my preferred option is to go out for walks at lunchtime rather than sit at my desk.  I may change my mind come the summer and the tourists, particularly in Greenwich, but for now these legs are made for walking.

It is good to go to work because, not only can I enjoy beautiful walks, particularly in the spring and summer, I can also indulge my other passion – photography.  The images below were taken on my mobile in Greenwich and Greenford.  It was a beautiful sunny day in Greenwich a few days ago and I was on a mission, along Trafalgar Road, to find a leisure centre to practice another ‘good habit’ – lunchtime swimming. In Greenford I discovered a path along the canal which is beautiful when the sun’s out. You have to make way for and dodge the odd member of what looks like the senior citizens’ walking club but it’s a pleasant, not too strenuous walk with lots of photo opportunities.  I’m thinking of taking my big camera on my next outing.

As a Careers Adviser I get the opportunity to do a job that I can say I honestly love doing in an environment that has opened up a host of other possibilities for me to use and craft a range of skills.  I can be creative with stills and videos to help students with their career strategy, I get to experience the health benefits of walking and I can improve my swimming.

So you see, for me, it’s good to work/walk.

Tree bridge bridge 1 bird Greenwich Walk 4 Greenwich Walk 3 Greenwich Walk 2 Lunchtime Walks