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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Graduation Post-Hoc - The Ceremony

What a weekend! So much went on that I am not even sure where to start. My parents were here all weekend for my graduation and it was a roller-coaster of emotional experiences. I guess I will start with graduation itself. Friday was a rainy, yucky day, but luckily our ceremony was held indoors. I got there and could only find a few people that I knew. I sat down with a couple other psychology students and waited for everything to get organized. They began to line us up by calling our names alphabetically. When they called our names, they handed us cards with our names, majors and an indication of whether we graduated with honors. Long ago, I had read some policy about graduating with honors that I thought had said that because I was a part-time student, I was disqualified from honors status. Apparently, I was wrong. My card said that I graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors). I was stunned, and excited and honestly, really proud of myself. After they lined us up, we marched into the auditorium and took our seats. We then watched our professors and administrators march in. I was happy to see a couple of the professors that I had gotten to know marching in, but I was sad that one particular instructor of mine, whom I formerly had a big crush on, was not there. He had been a huge inspiration and motivation to me, and has become a good friend, and I was disappointed that I couldn't share my accomplishment with him. The ceremony was fairly short and sweet. Boring speakers, but at least they didn't talk for too long. I never realized how excited I would be to hear them mispronounce my name (and boy, did they butcher it!) and walk across that stage, shaking hands with the hardest professor I have ever had (and I had him every single semester), but have learned a lot from. I could feel the huge smile on my face and knew that I was really happy to be there. After the ceremony ended, and we were walking out, I ran up to my one good friend who was graduating with me and gave her a big hug (I didn't care that I had to break in line to do it - I wanted to walk out with her). What I thought was so cool about it was the fact that this particular friend of mine happens to be a religious Muslim also, and I am very happy about the fact that we have become such good friends, despite our religious differences (though we have also found many similarities). I pushed through the crowd as quickly as I could to find my parents. When I found them, they handed me a bunch of beautiful roses and gave me big hugs. My father was choked up, and could barely speak, he was so proud of me. I have never seen him like that before, at least not when it came to me. It really moved me a lot to see him proud of me. I was sad to be saying goodbye to my friends and the school, but in the end, I felt a sense of pride within myself that I am not sure I have ever felt before. I worked really hard for something and have accomplished it. It was a great feeling. More stories from the weekend to follow...

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