Graduation the next morning was interesting. I was excited and a little nervous but at the same time a little annoyed. I wore the dress I made in January and heels, wore my gown down stairs to line up and was carrying my cap, lipstick and a breakfast bar and as I walked into the room I was handed a survey to fill out including a pencil, a program and instructions to read for lining up, walking the stage, smiling at the stage photographer and another reminder to stay during the whole ceremony. I was like do I really need more stuff to carry. We stood for one hour in somewhat alphabetical order waiting to go in. There were no chairs or anything. Some people just sat down on the floor. I was like, I’m in my dress and heels, there’s no way I’m getting on the floor. So I stood and chatted with my fellow classmates griping about the whole ordeal we were about to have to sit through for another 2-3 hours. As we were all talking, complaining and laughing about it all, I joked about how ungrateful we all were for all our complaining. I had already talked to my parents about staying through the whole ceremony to the end to which we decided since I was probably going to be close to the end, we might as well stay for the whole thing. At 9:15 a.m. we saw the line start moving across the gym we were waiting in and we finally started to make our way onto the floor.
As I approached the entrance to the floor, it was getting louder and louder in the arena. And when I entered the arena, I saw why. The family and friends gathered to watch the ceremony were going wild. It felt like we were the home team entering the arena for a major sporting event. I was shocked, but it did feel us up with excitement. That helped make the situation a lot better. Once we were seated and all the introductions were done, the speaker began and I honestly tuned him out. He was some political science professor and I really didn’t care what he had to say. It was all about political regimes and presidents and the war. I was dreading his speech once I found out who our speaker was going to be a few weeks ago. So I read the program and that’s when I realized I wasn’t near the end but almost exactly in the middle. It was finally my row’s time to stand and cross the stage. It was exciting, but nerve racking as we got closer and started to ascend the stairs. I pronounced my name and it was recited almost immediately. I stepped toward President Murano and said thank you to her congratulations, shook her hand with my right hand, accepted my diploma with my left hand, smiled at the stage photographer and walked on. It was over. There were four history professors near the end of the stage shaking hands and congratulating, but it went by so fast. It was like, all that preparation and waiting for what seemed like four maybe five seconds. As I approached my seat I saw everyone else opening the tubes to read their diplomas or check that it was the real thing. So I did the same even though I knew it was going to be there and not some piece of paper that said sorry you didn’t graduate. I sat there for about ten minutes as people around me were getting up and walking out. It didn’t matter to me that they were leaving. I wasn’t offended or anything. When everyone in line around me was discussing whether they were going to leave or not, I mentioned that my family had already decided to stay. There was the whole other side of the arena to go, maybe about 500 more students. So I looked back to see what my family was doing and my mom and sister were looking right at me. They started motioning for me to leave. I was like, for real? I mouthed, “Did you ask Dad? Did you check with everyone else?” But they couldn’t understand me. When they waved good bye at me, I realized they really wanted to leave. So I mustered up some courage to stand up and walk down the row and out. I felt weird at first, but after I opened the door from the stairwell into the concourse, there were gowns everywhere so I didn’t feel bad anymore. We took some pictures with my family and headed over to the Memorial Student Center to drop off my diploma for framing. We were there about three and a half hours total with waiting before hand and my family waiting to get good seats, but it would have probably been four to five if we had stayed for the whole thing. Then we headed home to change clothes and get ready for the party the next day.
The party was a lot of fun. Stressful and exhausting from all the work, but lots of fun and everyone really had a great time. Seeing family and friends who I haven’t seen in a long time was great. The food was good. The music was great. The cake was delicious. We all had a lot of fun. Everyone there was instrumental in me obtaining my degree over all these years. There are lots of pictures on our Flickr site from the whole weekend. After cleaning up a little more Sunday morning, we headed home to Austin to unload and unpack so we could get ready to pack again to leave Tuesday morning for O´ahu. We are excited about this trip. Roger and I were talking last night during dinner and he told me again how proud he was of me. I told him thanks but that it didn’t feel like that big a deal to me. I think I feel this way because it’s taken me so long to graduate because of my own stubbornness and stupidity. I am glad to have my degree and look forward to what doors it opens up for me. As I was telling my sister-in-law Cathy, I hope to find a job that will allow me to be creative and not stagnate my intellect. I’m excited to see what I can find in the Austin area. I will let you know what the search turns up. Okay, I need to cut Roger’s hair so we can finish packing and try to get to bed early tonight. We have a long day of flying tomorrow. I want to thank everyone for praying for me over these years and especially the last year of school while being separated from Roger. I really appreciate all the support and prayer. Now it’s Roger’s turn to finish school. :)