I’m graduating today! By the time you read this, I’ll have my diploma in hand. I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop–some library fine or homework assigned I didn’t turn in and a sad look from the Dean when he tells me I can’t graduate.
So far, so good. No sad looks, no hitches; I’ll be a college graduate by noon today.
I’ll be covered in academic bling–Phi Beta Kappa chord, University Honors medallion, College Honors chord, Qatar study abroad stole, Andrew Carnegie Society stole, class ring, my grandfather’s class medallion.
I’m feeling a little uneven about these honors. I have great friends who will be graduating in a cap and gown and nothing else. I have more luck to thank than is pretty to think for the GPA and relationships which warranted most of that scholar swag. There’s nothing in my character which could have prevented a medical emergency from shooting my grades to hell for a semester and nothing in my experience tells me these kinds of awards are prerequisites for being an interesting person.
On the other hand, all the flattery is a big heap of cocaine for my ego.
So before I layer on my chords and medallions and stoles, I’ll lay into my soul the things I think I did well in university:
- Made friends with members of the Life Matters Club and helped moderate the reproductive justice dialog on campus while spending 5 years waking up at 6:30am and escorting women past screaming protesters,
- Made it through 4 years of long-distance loving with the Matt, who I’ve been with since I was 17 and who I married last August.
- Developed sustainable programs for the Career Center, the IMPAQT student ambassador program, and the Office of International Education,
- Mentored students who went on to do groundbreaking research in human trafficking, build relationships between our campuses in the Middle East and in the United States, and used my class to learn what they wanted to do in the world.
- Learned to self-sustain in a wide range of environments–how to rent an apartment, cook a nice dinner without too much money, get bus tickets, defend myself, defend others, make friends on Greyhound and at the White House.
Bling and internal benchmarking aside, I’m looking forward to hearing good friend Caroline Kessler speak, see Temple Grandin get an honorary degree, see my friends graduate, and finally lay down the heavy load of college. And take up the next challenge.
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson