Saturday, May 21, 2011

Woo Hoo and Thanks Y'all

The beginning of the weekend was full of pomp and circumstance and filled with words like processional, recessional, conferral, commencement, invocation and benediction. I’ve heard these words before but was never really part of anything so large.

The Gold Key Ceremony was last night. EN was working, so the girls and I attended with my parents. The gold key was not the Tiffany jewelry of my dreams, but it was pretty cool to be one of the elite. My GPA seems paltry in comparison with all the 4.0s that I heard about. Snorting Girl made the good point that I really don’t want to be part of anything that “ends in zero.” The faculty of the college spoke about many students that had overcome great odds, or done exceptionally well but the most emotional moment for me was being part of the recessional. We followed the faculty and once we entered the hallway, they stopped to either side and applauded the graduates. I nearly cried.

I tried to explain to the girls that I was getting a prize for getting really good grades. Sugar seemed to understand, but it was obvious that Spice did not. After the ceremony she told me that I walked across the stage better than anyone else. Not exactly the point of the evening, but I’ll take it.

Sadly, the girls had a hard time finding me in that crowd, so I realized that they’d never find me today. I noticed that another graduate had a decorated cap, so I realized I needed to do that too. After tucking the chicks in last night, I bedazzled my cap and texted a former classmate who was also graduating to see if she wanted to be bedazzled too. Thank God for all my scrapbooking tools, rhinestones and flowers.

After collecting our graduation cards and exchanging my black tassel for gold, I finally met up with my former classmate. It’s hard when taking online classes to bond with anyone. Patti and I shared a class a year ago and bonded over a comment I made about adopting soldiers. We’ve kept in touch here and there regarding other classes, jobs, and graduation. It’s thanks to Patti for reminding me that graduates needed to be at the venue an hour early today. I would have been late. Therefore, I owed her a bedazzled cap. We finally found each other after panicking a bit, we’re both short and the crowd was huge. We hugged and ran outside where I decorated her hat and we helped each other with our caps, robes, cords and shawl-thing. We were both pleased with the way we looked, our bangs were perfect and we marched off happily.

My bedazzled cap. 
Patti's cap. We weren't really playing with our phones
when we should have been paying attention. It only
appears that way. 

We came across some woman with a way-cool cap and we complimented her on it. She told us that with a little more work, we could have one like hers. I might have suggested beating her up and taking her hat. She told us that our caps were nicely decorated but were on wrong, she pushed our bangs around (damn it!) and fixed us up. We later realized this woman was the Senior Vice President of Student Affairs. I need to be more careful when I threaten to beat someone up.

Finally it was time and we walked into a packed arena. There’s an indescribable feeling that comes over you when you walk into a place with 8,000 people cheering. It takes your breath away. The music, prayers and speeches that followed were tremendous. And thing were even better because, in a crowd of 1,600 graduates, I had a friend sitting next to me. We laughed and joked and told each other more about ourselves. Had I not been with her, I would have been lonely in a crowd of nearly 10,000. Spending these hours together today has bonded us. When I think of this day, I will remember spending it with my dear friend Patti from Holland.

We collected our empty leather folders that we will use to display our degrees, listened to a few more people talk then took part in the recessional. I looked at my friend and said, “Well, I guess it really is over.” She said maybe we should go for our Masters degrees and I asked her when she wanted to start. We agree that we need to find employers to pay for our educations first.

It was a fun day and I was glad that I had a cap that made me easy to find. Every time I turned around to wave at my family, at least one person noticed and waved back. I may have been just one little fish in a sea of graduates today, but it felt damn good to see my name with three stars and to hear my name announced with summa cum laude after it.

An event that I am part of would not be complete without a little drama. I met up with my family at the front of the arena and of course my dad is wearing crankypants. He bitched about the price of parking, then gave attitude to anyone who dared walk in the path of his picture taking. Lets all be sunshiny and happy for just a few minutes, ok?

And so it ends. I find myself feeling a bit hungover as the adrenaline and excitement have left, but I look forward to the Next Big Thing, whatever that might be.

Ice Princess

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