As I am sure you are all perfectly (and annoyingly) aware that yesterday was commencement. It is all I’ve written or tweeted or Facebooked about for a while now.
Well, after this post, I’m moving on!
(I can hear the shouts of “hurray” as I type. I don’t promise to never mention graduation again, but I predict that there will be some posts in the new future that are about other topics. Such as post-graduation. Mwuahahaha)
Let’s just plunge right in, shall we?
The morning of graduation, like that of any other party day, was utter chaos at the Schnabel household and stress levels were high from the moment I woke up. I was given a grace period long enough to shower, eat some food, and slap on some makeup before my Grandmother and I were charged with the “things I forgot we need” shopping list and sent on our merry way.
When we returned there were vegetables everywhere, and I was ordered to vacuum. So I vacuumed.
Then I arranged cupcakes and strawberries.
At this point it was the time I had planned on leaving in order to meet up with the choir, and I hadn’t even gotten ready yet. I rushed upstairs, feeling some strange emotional depths about to explode, curled my hair with the 1 inch iron (since I didn’t have time for the 1/2 inch like I had been planning) and then pinned it back into a low side bun before shellacking the hell out of it. I put on my mortar board and grabbed my cap and gown, took a shot of motherwort, and then ran out the door.
On the way to school I had a couple moments where I practically burst into tears, and I had to do some deep breathing in order to regain control of myself. Hormones do craaaazy things.
I got to campus with enough time to steal some food from the choir, hug some folks and consequently get my over-applied foundation all over their tux sleeves, and head over to the Grand Staircase to line up for the procession.
I will preface this following portion by saying that it had been pouring on and off all morning, and there was a contingency plan in place to line up in the Worthington if it was raining. The five minutes of sunshine that we had yesterday morning began about when lineup did, so everything was set up outside. Degree candidates were milling around, buzzing with excitement, comparing shoes, and attempting to figure out what they were supposed to do with the photographer cards that had just been thrust into their clutching fingers.
I eventually made my way up to “49 left” which was my spot, only to discover that “49 left” was also lovely Pam’s spot. And that there were two Music majors in the middle of the English majors, and our other Music major was clear on the other side in the middle of Psych Majors. Numbers and majors were all over the place, so eventually we all disregarded the numbers and huddled together in a protective formation of majors.
I say huddled, because shortly after we soon-to-be-graduates figured out an order for ourselves, it started to dump rain. Then came the hail. Followed by the biting icy wind.
Within moments all of that carefully straightened or curled hair, delicately applied makeup, and carefully straightened regalia was soaked, frizzed, and smeared. I was lucky that my hair was all pinned in place. Many minutes later, when those in charge decided we could move inside, everybody around me had come to the same conclusion, “Only at St. Martin’s.”
After parading around the parking lot we were led into the Worthington. As our recycled robes dried off we all smelled like wet dogs and cardboard and I for one remained slightly sticky feeling for the rest of the day.
Walking in was a little disorienting. When I entered the gym all that I could sea was a haze of humanity–bodies everywhere with balloons, camera flashes, and then a tight tunnel of faculty waving, hugging, and handing out cards. When we reached our seats, us choir folk had to immediately walk up the center aisle to climb the stairs to the level above in order to sing with the choir. It felt kind of silly, but nobody cared.
We listened to one of the worst “commencement speech”es I have ever heard. I used the quotes, because what we listened to was not a commencement speech but really a whole lot of nothing. A whole lot of nothing filled with ample buzzwords such as “global community” “research” “diversity” and even “global classroom”. These are all fine things in their time and place, and perhaps even in a commencement speech, but only if there is a point. There was none. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it did not. I felt like I was at a poorly-written lecture. The kicker was when the MC thanked her for her “inspiring insight”. I must admit that I giggled somewhat demonstratively.
The Valedictorian made up for it with a well-written speech resounding with the motto “live life now” “enjoy today”, etc, leading by example when he pulled out and chugged a Trader Joe’s beer on stage. He also quoted Wikipedia because “in your Valedictorian speech you can do whatever you want.” The President came back with the somewhat successful rejoinder that he “hadn’t conferred degrees yet” and a much less successful reference later to “Wik-eh-peeehhhd-ia”.
Somehow, with the line-up mix-up the Music Majors ended up in the front row and consequently recieving my diploma cover was over before I knew it. I felt a little hounded during the process: stand here, picture here, card here, handshake here, another picture here, “Welcome to the Alumni Association” pin here, more pictures, “Don’t sit down!”, and you’re done. All in about five minutes. Then there was more waiting, some more praying, walking out, and being unable to move in the press of bodies.
Stressful picture taking by family, then they left to get ready for the party.
I stayed behind to hug friends and faculty. I also grabbed a glass of champagne.
It’s so fun to go to events and see everyone all dressed up, looking great despite the unintentional outdoor shower.
I really loved my time at St. Martin’s.
Eventually I made it home and had a BBQ with friends and family, and delicious cupcakes.
Today I am at work.
And just like that, my undergrad degree is over and I am apparently an official member of “the real world” (not the MTV version) and am expected to “do great things” “make something of myself” and “excel at whatever I put my mind to”.
I’ll keep you updated.
P.S. pictures to follow when I get home and remember to upload them….
You’re really going to love the Emilie shrine at my house.