Graduation Madness

Whew. Last week was crazy. But I made it through, and now I can officially say that this lady is the proud recipient of two bright and shiny Master’s Degrees!

In my graduate regalia
On Friday I got to add my diplomas to Jeff’s MFA so this apartment is rockin’ THREE degrees, an MA, and MS and an MFA. Variety is the spice of life, you know. Look how cute he is in his weird graduate duds (or his Sith lord garb, as he likes to call it).

Jeff in his graduation gear
Jeff’s family got here last Saturday and we made sure to hit up some of the best touristy stuff that Boston has to offer. We went on one of the infamous duck boat tours (in which I learned so many things that I should have known after living here for 3 years…) and took a tour of the Sam Adams brewery. We also ate SO MUCH FOOD.

Jeff’s graduation ceremony was on Monday. It was kinda rainy and muggy and gross, but we were all safely seated inside the Wang Theater which is pretty much the most gorgeous and fancy theater on the planet.

Wang Theater

Thanks, Google Image search.

We were really looking forward to the commencement speech, as the speaker was playwright Tony Kushner (author of my all time favorite play Angels in America). He did not disappoint! His speech was refreshingly smart, funny and realistic about the state of the world. As a Children’s Lit Person I also appreciated how Kushner referenced William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience in order to illustrate the fact that undergrads are dewy eyed innocents while we grad students are cynical and tough. Truth. The whole ceremony was pretty quick (which we all appreciated) and overall quite nice. Afterward we ate delicious Italian food in the North End, and ended the day with cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. Success.

tony kushner speeching it up

Tony Kushner speechifyin’

My own graduation was much less successful.

For some reason I have been cursed to have very chaotic graduations. When I graduated from my undergrad, I had a minor panic attack the morning of as I realized that I had picked up the wrong color robe. I spent the day crying and freaking out and running all over campus to correct the issue which I eventually did, but only after working myself up into a tizzy. We had another fandango this time around, but luckily I managed to remain pretty calm and no tears were shed.

Everything started out okay when my sister arrived last Thursday. We spent the day shopping downtown and had a good time. My parents and little brother arrived that night and we all went out for pizza and took a walk around campus and it was fairly low key.  Things were a bit awkward though because everyone was exhausted and my dad and brother were a bit tired and overwhelmed.

I should mention that my family does not travel,  so for them to fly out from the Colorado suburbs to the big ole East Coast city was a Big Deal. Especially for my dad and brother who do not do well with change or when their routines are altered in any way. They had some major culture shock. It didn’t help that Boston was not really at her best. The weather was finally nice after days of rain and it seemed that Boston’s entire crazy person population was out in full force. Also my dad is a pretty annoying driver.

Anyway, the next day, my family came over to my apartment to eat lunch and take some pictures before driving to the ceremony which was about 15 minutes away. I was supposed to be there at 1, so we left at about 12:30.

Everything was going fine until my dad missed an exit and then FLIPPED THE HECK OUT. You would have thought it was the end of the world. And then my mom flipped the heck out at him for flipping the heck out! It was so awkward. My sister and I rolled our eyes at each other, and Jeff and my brother just sat awkwardly in the back.

It would have been fine if everyone would have calmed down and stopped fighting so we could figure out where we were, but everyone had been on edge anyway from travelling and stuff and this was just the last straw. We tried getting back on the highway but we were going in the opposite direction and ended up practically in Brighton. By this time it was like 1:10 so I was starting to get anxious.

We spotted a hotel off the next exit and I just wanted to extricate myself from the whole fandango and get into a cab. My sister, Jeff and I hopped out and luckily the concierge was kind enough to call me a cab and gave my sister thorough directions.

Jeff and I took the cab and I made it to the venue at 1:40. I had just enough time to freshen up in the bathroom and find my place in line. I love my friends so much…I had been texting periodically to update them on the chaos and as soon as I got there, they were ready to help me get my robe, hood and hat on just in the nick of time!

My friends and me at graduation!
As we walked into the seating area, I spotted my dad in the back so I knew my family had somehow made it, so I was able to relax.

The ceremony was crazy long and crazy boring. The speaker was terrible. She was an investment banker and her whole speech was like a compilation of greatest hit one-liners from every motivational speech you’ve ever heard. Full of buzzwords and things like “be a strong leader,” “don’t be afraid of change,” and “maximize your potential” stuff you’ve heard a million times before. It didn’t feel personal at all. And she didn’t try to hide the fact that all of these words of wisdom were from a book she’d written. I felt like I was being pitched to. “In chapter one of my book I say…” blah blah blah. And she kept referring to us as women, and though the undergraduate program at my school is all female, the grad program is co-ed so she was alienating all of the men in the audience!

I’m just going to pretend that Tony Kushner’s spoke at my graduation too.

Luckily, my program was one of the first to get called up to the stage so I got to spend the rest of the time relaxing and chatting with my friends in the audience.

Overall, the whole thing just felt very anti-climactic. Three years of super hard work, blood, sweat, tears and joy, (not to mention the car ride fandango!) all so my family could watch me walk across a stage for like 15 seconds.

Oh well. C’est la vie. It all worked out just fine in the end!

All I can say is I am so grateful that my family made the crazy trip and supported me through the madness. I am grateful to Jeff for dealing with me when I was a crying mess struggling to make it through my hardest papers, for reading and re-reading them, and for helping me keep things in perspective. And I am grateful for my friends because I do not think we could have done this without each other!

My sister, brother and me at graduation

Siblings! My brother’s face just sums up the whole thing.

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6 Responses to Graduation Madness

  1. mselene says:

    Congratulations, that’s awesome! 🙂

  2. two birds says:

    congratulations! i’m sorry it didn’t go as planned, but hopefully in a few years, you can tell the story again and have a good laugh!

  3. suzymarie56 says:

    Congratulations!!!!! What a clever household! 🙂

  4. ShyScout says:

    Congratulations to the both of you!! That is so fantastic. I am debating whether or not to go back for my masters. Your family’s fandango sounds exactly like every road trip I have ever been on with mine, haha. I am glad you made it to the ceremony and everything worked out just fine :]

  5. katherine says:

    congrats – what a HUGE and awesome accomplishment! it’s great your family got to come and celebrate and be there with you even if it was a bit hectic!

  6. Pingback: May Reading Recap – Part 1 | This Little Infinity

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