Malala Yousafzai has today revealed she has finished her Oxford degree and showed her rebellious side by celebrating with a traditional ‘trashing’ – which was banned by university chiefs in 2018.
The 22-year-old Nobel laureate shared two pictures of herself covered in confetti and foam and said she planned to unwind from her studies with ‘Netflix, reading and sleep’.
Her graduation marks the end of an extraordinary chapter for Malala, who survived being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman at the age of 15 after campaigning for girls to be educated in her native Pakistan.
She tweeted today: ‘Hard to express my joy and gratitude right now as I completed my Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree at Oxford. I don’t know what’s ahead. For now, it will be Netflix, reading and sleep.’
Oxford University declined to comment on the trashing, which it has previously threatened to report to police because of the cost of cleaning it up. Students see it as a traditional rite of passage for all students who pass their Oxford exams.
Malala marked the end of her degree with a traditional ‘trashing’ where students are covered in confetti and foam
Malala says after completing her PPE degree she’ll ‘sleep for days’
In another photo Malala celebrating with her family in front of a graduation cake
After recovering from being shot, she moved to Britain and went on to become the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014.
Thousands replied to Ms Yousafzai’s Twitter post, including former Oxford student and writer Philip Pullman, who simply wrote: ‘Congratulations!’
Nasa astronaut Anne McClain – who studied in England – also replied, writing: ‘Congratulations on your graduation @Malala!
‘For so many, higher education is the start of great things. For you, great things preceded it and I can only imagine the even greater ones to follow. The world is lucky to have you on it.’
The ritual of ‘trashing’ began in the 1970s and sees friends of students taking their finals wait outside the back of the Examination Schools in Oxford city centre.
As their chums emerge, they blast them with silly string and shaving foam. Those who drink are plied with Champagne.
The tradition of ‘trashing’ has endured despite successive attempts by the proctors of Oxford to clamp down on it and even impose fines.
Five years ago, the celebrations were described by university proctors as ‘a disgrace’, after students left behind rotten food, vomit and broken glass.
It followed a report of a female student being fined £80 for being caught rubbing a trifle in a friend’s face. She was told she had to pay the fee or she would not be allowed to graduate.
Students say it is a fun way to let off steam after all their hard work – but the university insisted it represented ‘entitled behaviour’ which blights the lives of locals.
Figures released in 2018, at the time, showed Oxford had to pay security staff £20,000 in overtime to monitor the incidents last year, while a further £1,881 was spent on hiring barriers.
Malala has become a global icon for her campaigning on the importance of education and women empowerment following her own ordeal of being shot by the Taliban for trying to get more Pakistani girls in school
Meanwhile, £3,500 was reimbursed to Oxford City Council, who clean up the mess from the streets when the celebrating students have gone home.
The university promised it would start tipping off Thames Valley Police about the locations of the so-called trashings so they can arrest anyone breaking the law.
Several colleges have attacked the tradition, including Mansfield which labelled it ‘stupid…damaging to the environment, and wasteful’ Meanwhile, Corpus Christi said trashing was ‘just not classy’.
According to student newspaper Cherwell, trashing dates back to the 1970s, when misbehaving students were regularly fined by proctors.
In the 1980s, the university had to send a letter to all students threatening arrest after complaints from police.
The then-Junior Proctor, Dr Paul Slack, said: ‘Twenty years ago, when I was a student, none of this went on. We used to retire quietly to our rooms to drink champagne. The whole matter has got out of hand.’