This is a day full of strange emotions. I will be walking in my graduation ceremony in about an hour and a half. It's got a bit of irony, because I won't actually be defending my thesis for several more weeks, but at least I know I'll be able to.
I'm spending a lot of time thinking back to just over two years ago when I received my bachelor's degree. I sat at commencement with my roommate, Jill, and my brother, Matt. Since I graduated from the College of Biology with a minor in music, I was invited to audition to perform at convocation, and they selected me as one of two musical numbers (of course, I have no idea how much competition there was- maybe only two people auditioned). I managed to pick up a nasty cold on Monday of that week. Convocation was on Friday. On Thursday, I was coughing so hard that my lungs felt raw. This was a problem because I was performing a vocal solo. I'm still not completely sure how I got through that solo, except that the priesthood blessing I was given on Thursday morning helped a lot. Matt, bless his heart, walked with my college instead of his own so he could be my accompanist. You can relive the moment here.
This time around feels so different. For one thing, I'm not deathly ill, and for another, I'm not actually done with all the requirements to graduate. For another, so many of my good friends are slowly slipping away- and if they're all leaving, I'd just as soon leave too, and not be hanging around Provo for any longer. I've been here for a long time. This is how I've spent this graduation so far:
Yep, that's my hood on my head. And that's my friend McKay standing next to me. I hung out with him and David, my other good friend who graduated today. The whole day was rather unusual and entertaining. McKay was trying to frantically finish his honors thesis when he realized that he had less than an hour to walk home from campus, get dressed for graduation, and get back to the Marriott Center for commencement. So, slightly frantically, he called me, who just happened to be at my apartment getting ready for commencement. I went over to McKay's apartment, where his roommate Josh helped me out getting together an outfit and a cap and gown for McKay. He didn't have a tassel, so Josh got his and lent it to the cause. It was the wrong year and color, but we tried to ignore that fact.
Upon arriving on campus, and while waiting for McKay to change, Josh and I looked at my graduation attire and Josh noted that it was odd that there was both a hood and a cap for a master's graduation outfit. So, just to prove that it could be used as a hood, I put the hood on my head. Thanks to Josh for capturing the moment of me in my hood and McKay in his borrowed tassel.
Meanwhile, David was finishing his last final- in his graduation robe. We all finally met up for commencement and a merry time was had by all.
It's really amazing to me to look over my life since I started college and see just how much I've changed and learned- and forgotten- and it's kind of exciting to realize that I have a whole lifetime to keep doing just that. In fact, I'm going to briefly chronicle each of the seven years I've spent in higher education and what they've taught me. Should be exciting.