It's kind of cool because it's my second graduation in less than a year. In 2010 I graduated from high school. Two days ago I received my Associate's Degree (AS). Both times I graduated with High Honors. I don't know how that happened. In high school, I worked for it. In college? I didn't even know until the alumni coordinators told me I needed to buy high honor cords. "Why?" I asked them. "Um...well, you have a 3.9 and that means you have high honors. Do you not want to get the cords?" They were only five dollars, so I got them.
I also didn't know what sort of degree I was getting until the day of graduation. There are different types of Associate Degrees. I never learned that in high school! Mine's an Associate of Science in University Studies (aka they lumped me in with all of the other people who didn't know what they wanted to major in so just took everything to fulfill basic general eduaction requirements). So there I was with my black gown made out of recycled soda bottles, my dorky graduation hat, my honor cords, my green university neck hanger thing (they never told us the name), my black University College tassel, and a bad case of what-the-heck-am-I-supposed-to-be-doing?! Oh yes. I was graduating from college.
I felt less dorky once I was surrounded by other people wearing those caps. I don't know why they chose caps like that for graduation ceremonies. They don't look very cool. But I guess it's better to look scholarly than it is to look cool. Unless you're Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga. Then you can wear whatever you want and make money, no diploma needed.
Okay, so it wasn't that bad. I just felt super out of place and awkward. I didn't know anyone around me, which was very different from high school graduation. I think that was the weirdest part, not graduating with any of my friends. I'm one to two years ahead of most of them when it comes to college degree requirements, so when I am halfway through or done with my Bachelor's Degree my friends will be receiving their Associate Degrees. I'm excited for them, more than I was for myself. Graduations have never really seemed like a big deal to me. It's just what you do. You go to school, get a degree, go back to school, get another degree, and so on. Ever since I was a kid, school and getting degrees have been the big deal at my house, even moreso than politics. My parents, mom especially, have talked up college since I was probably three. So graduation? It's just another requirement.
It doesn't help that my mom got really mad at me after my convocation was over. I interrupted her without meaning to because I thought she was finished speaking. Apparently not. I don't know what it is with my family. Everything ends in a fight that mom starts and finishes by walking off to her car and driving off. That kind of ruined the entire day.
HOWEVER! There were some really good things about the day. I'll list the highlights:
- Being found by a lady in my neighborhood who was also graduating. She let me stand in line with her and her friends, so when we were actually walking I wouldn't be by myself.
- Matt Holland, President of UVU, gave an incredible speech. It was awesome because it felt like he was talking directly to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear, addressing all of my fears and concerns. In short, his speech said that it is critical to move forward with your life, and you have to do it despite things being imperfect. "You cannot wait for the perfect set of circumstances." It was really great.
- Cafe Rio for lunch!
- I don't know if this could be called a highlight because it was very scary, but I was put first in line to walk in the processional for convocation. I never lead any lines, because I'm usually the shortest or almost shortest. The tall people are always in the front, haha! Both of the girls behind me were tall. I was standing between them, but the usher came over to us and said that it looked really weird to have two tall blondes separated by a short brunette, so she moved me to the front.
- I got a text while people's names were being read (yes, I had my phone on). It was from Jason. Here's the conversation:
Jason: "Are you graduating right now?"
Jason: "In the UCCU Center?"
Me: "No, in the PE courts."
Jason: "Shoot! We're at the wrong graduation!"
I literally laughed out loud when I read that. I was so glad that they'd even made an effort to come. And guess what else? They brought me flowers that they picked from their own garden. Tulips, red and yellow ones! They're so pretty. If my camera hadn't broken during the ceremonies I would have taken a picture. I'm glad I kept the receipt with the warranty on it!
So yeah. The day was interesting.