Here I am, diploma (cover) in hand, with all that smart goodness having been bestowed upon me by the powers that be. Actually, though, I won't get my diploma til about March or so. I don't care, whatever. As per usual, I'm going to bore you with just about every boring detail of the day...
I was frantically cleaning my house yesterday/last night, and finally went to bed. Unfortunately, I've had a cold and so I couldn't sleep last night. So, I took some acetaminophen and finally konked out. I set 3 alarms and the first one went off, I bolted upright, shut it off, and sat there jacknifed in my bed for about 2 minutes, watching the numbers tick by. I thought, "Is it really 6:15 already?" So, I got up, got ready, grabbed my cap and gown, and drove to CollegeTown. I parked farther away than I'd thought I was, because I didn't realize that there wasn't a gap between the buildings I needed to get by. I ended up walking for about 10 minutes just to get to the entrance I needed to get to. I got there plenty early though. They started passing out our name cards, and then we went to the next stop, which is the arena in which graduation is held. We were sectioned out according to major, number on our name card (alphabetical) and all that good jazz. I was number 30 and the woman in front of me was, naturally, 29. It's weird, those around me were all Soc. majors, and yet, I didn't know half of them. But anyway, I got to talking to Ms. 29 and it turns out she is a licensed minister! I had no idea. I told her of my plans and she wished me good luck, and also helped me put on those STUPID hats they make graduates wear. It was really neat to meet her. Plus, she was really nice.
After a while, we were told to start going into the actual arena part where the spectators were sitting. We had to open our robes first so the powers that be could make sure we were not packing any alcohol or something. So, we zipped back up and processed to our chairs. After we were all seated, there was a bunch of blah blah blah-ing, and clapping, and what not. The Doctorates were awarded first, then the Masters degrees, and finally they got to the undergrads. Because Sociology is the 3rd to the last major alphabetically, we were toward the back. I couldn't really see what was going on, but surprisingly, I was not very nervous at all. The marshall came and told our row to go. So, we started walking up there. We got to the end of the bleachers where the band was (you can't see back there from the majority of the arena) and there were pro photographers taking pictures. I wasn't expecting that, either. They threw all these instructions at us and I didn't hear a word the lady said. But, I got my photo taken and went into the line again. Then, we get closer and someone was taking the name cards so those announcing could read our names and any special distinctions we had (I had none) and we could walk across the stage and get our diploma (covers). So, they started saying my name, I walked, shook hands, held the diploma, and had my photo taken again. Then, I walked down the steps. Well, you should know that my school has two people saying the names; one on each side of the platform. Sociology was my side, obviously, and the other side was a different major. So, I walked down and saw a bunch of Soc. professors. The first one was a really cool guy I had my 2nd to last semester. He gave me a hug and said to keep in touch. I said, "It's been nice knowing you." and he said, "Make sure to visit!" and then I shook another profs hand because I didn't know her. Then, I saw another prof I knew and she gave me a hug and said congratulations and I said "Thanks Dr. X!" and then I shook hands with the rest of the people.
Now... Hehe. One of the problems with the hugging is that I'm not really much of a hugger. I value my personal space and up until recently I didn't really even like people to touch me at all. But, I guess I'm changing because today, the hugs made me feel special and loved. But, the other problem with the hugging is that the profs didn't hug all the soc majors that came down. I guess I really am special. :) hehe. So the problem was that the hugging took a little while and I didn't see where the person ahead of me went. It was all happening so fast that I started to return to my seat down the wrong side aisle, (There were two; one for our side of the platform and one for the other side) so I had to step back, and then I thought, "Am I going the right way?" and then I kind of waffled back and forth for a few seconds before heading down MY aisle toward my seat. I felt like such a complete idiot! But, I returned to my seat and then everyone else did their thing and that was that. Then, there was a bunch more blah blah blah-ing and finally we got to process out. My family told me they would not be waiting for me outside; that I should just start for home so we could get the house and food all the way ready and what not. But, I stayed and talked to some friends for a few minutes and then decided to leave. Getting out of the parking lot was difficult, but a kind person saw me in my car, lipped "Are you trying to get out?" and when I nodded yes, they let me out. (Ah the benefits of not taking the robe off to drive home!)
Anyway, I got home and we got the stuff ready and waited for people. At 2:00, (the time the invitation said) people started coming. Pastor and his wife came and they each gave me a hug and handed me a bag of gifts, and my aunt and uncle from the burbs came, and a whole bunch of people. Even a few church folk came.. I was expecting a few more than the couple who came, but that's ok. People are busy. But, I felt bad because I didn't get to talk to Pastor and his wife really while they were there because they went in and were talking to others while I was meeting, greeting, and conversing with those who were coming in. About 15 or 20 minutes later, Pastor and his wife came back out and said they had to be going because they had to go stir meat for another congregant's party (He graduated at the 1:00 ceremony). They gave me a hug bye and said congrats and all that good stuff. Several family friends and relatives, and a few of my own dear friends came, too. It was a wonderful day, for which I am extremely grateful. (Although I NEVER did get "bouncing off the walls" excited; I'm slightly disappointed).
After everyone left, I started opening the cards and gifts that people so generously bestowed on me. I'm always amazed at the generosity people show. I appreciate everything, especially reading the wonderful cards that were given to me. I love cards with handwritten notes of support and encouragement. I'm a sucker for them. This little lady with whom I worked wrote me a very touching note in her card and it just made me miss her all that much more, considering I no longer work there. Pastor and his wife gave me a bag of stuff and I was curious about what was in there, but I opened it last. There was a card with a wonderful note in it, two books with notes on the first pages of each, and the thing I let out a little laugh of joy for: A MySeminary sweatshirt! Haha! I'm such a bum and I'm always bumming around in sweatshirts, and they got me one! But like I said, I am just truly touched by the generosity, love, and support I have been shown these last few weeks and I am excited to write out thank you notes to those who helped share in this special day with me. I wish there was a way to put the feelings in my heart into their hearts so they could know exactly how much they all mean to me.
Once I finished recording the gifts, I started watching some VH1 and I fell asleep with a major headache because I hadn't eaten all day because I was just not in the mood to eat. And then I woke up when Ma turned the T.V. off. I said, "I'm watching that!" lol. And now, I find myself blogging about the whole day, and just being moved (to echo the presiding feeling of the last few weeks, I will add: almost to tears) by all the emotion and love. I am so truly thankful that people care enough to take time out of their schedules, to write handwritten notes, to talk with me, and just share in life. It's amazing. Community is a wonderful thing. God has blessed me richly, and I am so very thankful.