Well, Internets, I graduated.
I realize this is an entirely anticlimactic post after months of a days-to-go count and whatnot, but I have to be honest with you: it turns out that May 20 was not exactly the Big Day or culmination I had exactly anticipated.
Many of my Milano peeps graduated in 2010 and moved on to bigger and better things. That fact was driven home when I arrived in the church basement to line up for our Recognition Ceremony and didn’t know many of the people there! It felt just like that terrible dream you had in junior high where you have no one to sit and eat lunch with. I wanted to sport a sign, you know, something along the lines of “Hey! I have friends too! They’re just…..” Well, working, or other things just as they should have been. Unlike that junior high dream, this was more of a strange realization than a scarring moment.
No, that happened later in the ceremony. While I have long joked about the difficulty many people have in pronouncing my last name correctly, so far I have been unscathed by any such mishaps at a Big Event. Though I’d written out a phonetic spelling and whispered it to the faculty member calling our names, wouldn’t you know, I heard “leen-ey” for “line” at the end of my last name and became Italian. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that).
I just couldn’t let this go, not as the technical conclusion to Grad School: Part Deux which took three years and precipitated a move to New Jersey. Just, no. So I had to stop short and say “No, LINE, like on a graph” and proceeded to actually draw a line in midair with my finger.
(Look, how many times do people actually use each other’s last names? Not often, and that’s why this was all amusing and not upsetting. We’re all good.)
After that surreal bit of performance art, the evening continued. I shared a lovely dinner with good friends and kept watch for a Big Moment. Of course, it never came because the week after graduation I went right back to work at career services as I have most days this academic year. The ceremony did not truly mark the end of my time at Milano.
Next week, however, I will be finished, and move on to devote my time to my job search and to write. I am ready, but my days at this institution are truly numbered.
As we left the church after graduation, a friend showed me the pictures she’d taken and apologized for missing the moment when I shook everyone’s hands and finished my degree; you know, when my name was called. I think the moment she caught is so much better:
I will be back (soon!) to post a couple of final thoughts, as well as share a bit about the job search process and how that is going. In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer!