Yesterday, I graduated (yes, I am still alive). It was quite the Event, with everyone bundling out of bed and into their winter best to be at the arena by 7. We left early to beat the horrible traffic and the backup at the road leading into the parking structure, neither of which materialized.
There was, however, the staging, which one of my fellow graduates described as “reverse hazing.” I think all of us expected to be herded into the nether regions of the arena to wait the hour between when we had to arrive and when we marched in. Oh no. We were shooed back outside to the arboretum across the street to wait, for an hour, in the pre-dawn cold. Ok–so this isn’t like Chicago or Toronto, but still. All but one of the Anthro graduates were girls, and not a one of us was dressed to be standing outside in 40º cold without coats. Adding insult to injury, we had to spend the entire hour staring at the Political Science graduates waiting in front of us, most of whom were guys who were heartlessly warm and relaxed in their solid shoes and suits with warm pockets.
I survived, thanks in large part to having worn Hermanita’s Firebird under my gown, and finally, shiveringly, we were paraded into the auditorium. The customary pomp and circumstance, set to Pomp and Circumstance, followed, and then, finally, they began to read the names.
After ages of waiting, walking was over in a flash. I got up to the stage without mishap, I stepped forward at the right time, I took the diploma case with the correct hand, and I was not the girl who wiped out going down the stairs (I felt so sorry for her, but it made the day of the guy placed at the bottom for just such an accident).
And then it was all over. I’d said goodbye and good luck to all the students I knew while we froze to death in the arboretum, to the advisor at the Anthro department’s reception, and to one of my favorite professors (not at the Anthro reception, ironically, but in line at the café we went to for lunch afterwards). Still, it didn’t sink in until I was going to bed that I would never again wait for a class to start in the dim Anthro lobby, never wedge myself into a too-small wooden desk and read the graffiti on the back of the desk in front of me while the person behind bumped my back with his/her knees, never curse the name of some past culture and/or that of the professor teaching us about them. It was all rawther saddening.
Shortly thereafter, it occurred to me to wonder what the heck I was going to do all spring.
I think I might be able to come up with something.
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