Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts from Places: Pomp and Circumstance

On Sunday morning, this happened:

That's me on the left of the sign. They emailed me and said "hi there, you are a smart person and we like you. Want to carry a thing at graduation?" And I said "yeah, sure, why not?" They also gave me a wooden baton I get to keep, which my roommate (standing on my left) and I will use to bludgeon potential home intruders.

I marched into the football field - the one and only time I have BEEN to Ithaca College's football field - at the head of my school, sat with my very best friends (except the one who sat with the School of Music), stood with those friends when they asked those graduating Summa Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude to stand, listened to David Boreanaz tell us not to get stuck on your sister's uncomfortable green couch and go out and DO the thing that you're meant to be doing, and flipped my tassel from the right side of my exceedingly stupid hat to the left.

I graduated.

To quote the brilliant John Green, because, as I have mentioned half a zillion times before, he says all the things I want to say, except more succinctly and more cleverly, "My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations." I can't quite wrap my head around the whole thing yet. It hasn't really hit me, in spite of the fact that I've got all the graduation paraphernalia stuffed in my suitcase in my room in the new sublet I'll be living in for the summer. It feels, right now, that it's just over for the summer, like always. It feels like I'll be heading right back to classes in August. I wonder how long it'll take me to realize that that's not the case.  

There are some not-so-nice things about graduating. Things like having your gown not fit AT ALL and having people ask eight hundred times what all your cords are for (Summa Cum Laude cords, history honor cords, Italian honor cords), being annoyed that you didn't get to throw your hat, getting frustrated to the point of tears when your lunch plans refuse to coordinate nicely, getting a raccoon-face sunburn so that everyone knows you've been crying FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.

Things like that.

But there are also some awesome things about graduating. (And the week before, which for Ithacans is Senior Week, in which every day is Friday. And then Friday is Friday to the power of Friday, which makes it EVEN BETTER.)

Things like getting to jump into Ithaca's famous fountain. It was freezing, but so very very worth it. It felt even more like a culmination of the last four years of hard work than actual graduation.

My roommate Lisa and I also went to pick up our honor cords from the registrar right after Senior Splash, in spite of the fact that we were soaking wet. It was the best idea ever.

Things like getting to spend every day doing exactly what *I* wanted to do. I read some books *I* wanted to read, I napped, I cooked, I sometimes got dressed up and went to senior events, and, most importantly, I hung out with my friends. I used my too-big graduation gown as a cape and made airplane noises swooping around in the gusts of Ithacan wind, and also as wizard robes in a chopstick wand duel with my roommates. (How nerdy is it that I've been planning that for four years?)

The whole thing is surreal. I keep waiting for a sense of accomplishment to hit me, a sense of "LOOK AT ME, I DID IT, I GRADUATED, WITH EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF HONOR CORDS TO BOOT!" But that hasn't arrived yet. I don't really know if it will. School is, at this point, really the only thing I know how to do. So, you know, I just did it.

And now I have to figure out how to do something else. How to be an adult.

It's weird, but I'll do that too.

For now, though, I think I'll revel a little longer in what just was. The hard part of all this is knowing that I'll never again be in the same place with ALL of my friends, those friends who provided a support network for all four years of college.

There really are no words to encompass everything my friends have done for me over the past four years. Whether it was forcing me to buy clothing that actually fit, making me dinner on my birthday, commiserating about terrible novels our thirteen-year-old selves wrote, going on European adventures, or simply talking very late into the night, the friends I made here at IC have really shaped who I am today. They took a shy, gawky, hellishly awkward high schooler and turned her into a (more) confidant girl who can at least pretend she knows how to talk to strangers and is capable of wandering around foreign cities on her own and can (sometimes) simply let herself relax and have fun and not care what other people think.

That, my friends, is entirely your doing, and I am so grateful. Sitting here in this sweltering Waffle Frolic (which has delicious food and free internet but, alas, no air conditioning), I miss you already, even though I only said goodbye to you yesterday. I WILL pester you all into keeping in touch if need be, and you may hereby kick me if for some inexplicable reason you do not end up on the acknowledgements page of my future novel.

I feel like this post is rather rambling and nonsensical, and for that I apologize. I wanted to say something Grand and Important and All-Encompassing, but I think my mind is still reeling from the shock of it all, and I can't quite find the words I want. Really, the most important words are: thank you. To everyone who helped me get to the point where I flipped my tassel from one side of my hat to the other, and left a football stadium an Ithaca College alum, you are the best. My family and my friends and my wonderful professors and my writer friends and you, dear blog readers: thank you. You helped me, in big ways and small ways, to get to the point where I could jump into a freezing cold fountain, have a chopstick wizard duel in overlarge robes, and write "graduated Summa Cum Laude" on my resume.

Here's to the next four years, then, hmmm?

Side note: if you are related to me and would like to keep in touch (or if you are not related to me and would like to keep in touch) send an email to coconne2 (at) ithaca (dot) edu and I'll send you my new address and all that jazz. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment