Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Today marked the second of the two most important ceremonies of my life. The first (my wedding in 2000) has in every way defined my personal life for the past eight years. Today, my graduation from graduate school defines my professional life. For five years I have been working toward this goal of a Master's Degree in Nutrition. Five years ago it seemed so far away that it was nearly unattainable.
This morning I took a bus to Benaroya Hall early for the graduation rehearsal. I had a strange flashback to my life prior to Bastyr, when I took the bus to downtown Seattle every morning on my way to work. There was something poignant about walking the familiar streets downtown having accomplished so much since I last regularly rode that bus.
We were required to arrive ridiculously early and stood around for hours in our regalia, looking ever so much like extras escaped from the latest Harry Potter movie. We snuck snacks, cameras and water bottles into our strange long closed sleeves to sustain us through the three hour ceremony. As a group we vacillated between elation that the day had arrived, and annoyance at the micromanaging staff directing us around.
I did feel slightly bridal today, as I had something special with me from many of the people in my life-- I wore my grandmother's pearl and diamond ring, the last gift my grandfather gave her before he died, and which she gave to me for Christmas last year. I wore the pearl earrings my oldest and dearest friend gave to me for my birthday a couple years ago, and in case of tears, I carried one of my husband's handkerchiefs in my pocket. My parents and Marc were there to support me and patiently endured long speeches and 267 names of graduates so that they could see me walk across that stage and hear my name. As I waited on the edge of the stage, watching some of my best friends receive their degrees, I teared up, and had to take a few deep breaths so as not to cry my way through my commencement. We cheered for each other's names, and when the last Master's degree was announced and the University President, Dr. Church, declared us all degreed, we all hugged each other fiercely, as if no matter how tight we held on to each other it could never portray the exact level of excitement and pride we had for ourselves and each other.
I had to say goodbye today to a couple of very special people whom I will greatly miss having in my daily life. It was almost too much to take in. But the ceremony helped bring closure to this chapter of my life, and I am looking forward to a summer of finding rest and peace before the next adventure begins.