My college career has been anything but traditional.
It has taken me seven years to get my Bachelor’s degree. I spent time as a full-time student, part-time student, and online student. I have commuted by train, by car, and have lived on campus. I have gone through two majors, been undecided (in between majors)–and a minor– at two different schools, spent a summer session at community college, and completed an online certificate program. While enrolled in the certificate program, I was officially on a leave of absence and “took off” from school for a year and a half while working part time.
This all said, I love school. There are few things I find more stimulating, creative, and satisfying than learning.
I also love all the other things college brought me: a larger sense of independence; a wonderful job; opportunities to sing, act, and volunteer; a chance to lead, guide, and teach; a chance to expand my (already-diverse) circle of friends.
I have also met some of the most amazing people while in school. I still keep in touch with a few of my friends from my first two years of college (before my transfer). I know that many more from my now-alma mater will stay in my life for quite some time. Some of which I hope stay forever.
Graduation for me started on Tuesday night with honors convocation (for which I prepared by getting a hair cut two weeks in advance and the leg wax which you’ve already heard about. One note, the woman who does my leg wax is a doll. I go somewhere separate from where I get my hair or nails done, because I don’t really want the person who cuts my hair or paints my nails to see all that. Her brother actually has severe food allergies and we always have the nicest conversations. If interested, drop a line and I’d be happy to tell you who to see.) I did a mani-pedi earlier on Tuesday, after some emergency shoe-shopping since I realized I had no shoes to go with the dress(es) I picked out for the next couple days. So some much-needed end-of-semester pampering happened before the ceremony. While in the back room, lining up, I have to say that I was actually nervous. Suddenly, very nervous about walking across that big stage. But the night really went off very well. It was amazing to be there and I was so proud of my fellow honors grads, as well as of several friends who were receiving special university awards. However, it was a very LONG evening with many names being called. I was especially blessed to have, in addition to my parents filling my two seats for which I was given tickets, one of my co-worker/friends to be there with me to share such a special evening. Seeing him after the ceremony was amazing and it was a blessing to me to see how proud he was of me, as I do not always have that from friends, much less guy friends.
It was a late night getting home after 11pm, and with an early morning ahead to make it to my 8:30am department ceremony, I fell asleep after setting my alarm to wake me to Vitamin C’s “Graduation.” It’s corny I know, but it seemed perfect, although the song always chokes me up at some point and I had to shut it off after hitting snooze once or twice. I was also blessed to spend the day with my Aunt and Sister (mom’s best friend and my best friend). Again, the day was filled with beautiful ceremonies and (mostly) pretty good speeches. The department ceremony was personal and felt like family, while the main ceremony was our sun-drenched final goodbye– sitting and sweating with the classmates we’ve come to know beyond the strangers we once were just a few years ago. For me, the day was also doubly proud as I have TA’d for 3 classes over the past year. This has been one of my great loves during my senior year and to face the day with not only my friends, but with some of my students as my fellow graduates was special indeed. It was impossible not to be proud of those I know have worked so hard for this moment– as I had myself.
All the best to the Class of 2011!
(And all learners everywhere– whether you have a class or a degree or not.)