Today I graduated! My official graduation date was August 31, 2006, but the ceremony was today. I wasn't sure if I wanted to pay all the money to rent the robe and go through the ceremony, but I decided I needed the closure...that feeling of finality.
I got the robe Thursday, but when I got home, I saw that I was supposed to get a blue hood and they gave me a yellow one instead. Friday I stayed home sick from work to get the correct hood. I didn't feel well, anyway.
Today is the birthday of my friends Madrid and Carolina. Madrid wanted to celebrate last night. I agreed, but who did we see once we got to the restaurant? My Assistant Principal. Oh, GREAT! I was trying to back out before she saw me, but Madrid (not thinking), exclaimed, "Oh, look who it is!" and started waving. "Let's go say hello." Aaarrgh! Afterward, I asked her what she was thinking of. "I wasn't! I'm so sorry!" She felt so bad. I really hadn't felt well Friday, but this made things look suspicious, and my employers have gone after me for a lot less. Oh, well. They will or they won't bother me about it. I can't control their actions.
Back to today: Tom was nice enough to come take some pictures of me in my cap and gown. As we walked over to Central Park, one of my neighbors called out, "Congratulations, girl!" We found a pretty spot with craggy rocks and blooming trees on one side and a marathon or race of some kind on the other side.
Then I hopped on the train into the Bronx. I had to run to make the lineup on time. Then I found that only three of us had the blue hood. Apparently, they'd given everyone the wrong hood, and only three of us asked for the right one...essentially making us the ones in the wrong hoods. Heh. Oh, well.
The ceremony was actually nice. Each group stood and was recognized. The address was given by Willie Larry Randolph, manager of the Mets and former coach of the Yankees. Everyone involved enjoyed stirring up some Yankees-Mets rivalry among the student body. His speech was good, not because it was original or had jokes, but because his delivery was funny and -- unlike the speaker at my undergraduate commencement -- he wasn't CRAZY. (Seriously, that guy talked about a girl getting an eye poked out by the wire of a spiral notebook. Ew.)
One speaker from the university teased the undergrads about their collegiate experience: "You gained the freshman 10, you fell in love...she dumped you. You said, 'Fine. I'll show her. I'll become a Jesuit.' But it doesn't work, I can tell you. So you pierced your ear instead, taking it out when you went home to visit mom and dad." Hee.
The benedition was given by this hilarious priest (I think), who delivered it in such rhyming couplets as: Bless the students/ keep them holy/ help them lose the rolly-polly/ shape they blame on Sodexho*/ but is the fault of lack of exo...cise."
Then we sang the Alma Mater. Now, during the National Anthem, I gained a suspicion that was confirmed during the Alma Mater: people can't sing. I'm not saying I'm the best singer in the world. I'm just saying...with a song they know, people can get by. When they have to sight-read, they are lost.
By this point, it was sprinkling and cold. There were going to be second ceremonies, divided by school. Our individual names would be read as we would be handed scrolls. But I was cold and tired and hungry. I'd forgotten my wallet, so I couldn't buy food. I decided I was done. I just wanted to go home to sleep. I'd already gotten everything I needed from the day: a ceremony to put a close to that time in my life and prepare me for the time to come.
*Sodexho is a company that provides food to many universities, including my other Alma Mater, Buena Vista. It is not known for having fresh, healthy, delicious food. It did, however, provide yummy ice cream, and you could tell a meal was bad if you saw everyone eating ice cream cones instead of dinner.