Clearly I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately… especially after that “A Year Ago Tonight…” post on Wednesday. Can you really blame me? A year has passed since a few important events, and I’ve been doing my best to remember those special times in my life.
A year ago today was Thursday, December 8, 2011. My college graduation day.
Family and I had driven the 4-hours to SC the day before, and had spent the evening at dinner with friends, walking around downtown Greenville, and figuring out what I was going to wear the next day. (Yeah, I hadn’t decided on my graduation outfit until the night before. Typical girl.)
I woke up Thursday morning around 8:00. My parents were all excited, saying, “it’s your graduation day!!!” and my grandpa proceeded to tell me how he had known this day would come because I was such a “smart girl.” I smiled and tried to keep my cool, but honestly, I was extremely nervous about graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled that it was a smaller group of graduates than the Spring commencement, but I was nervous about walking across the stage, smiling, hugging the president, not tripping, etc. My stomach was in knots.
Just the thought of food made me feel nauseous. Graduation wasn’t for another few hours, but I didn’t think I could eat anything without getting sick. (My body is so weird when it comes to being nervous.) I managed to drink some sweet tea and a few pinches off a butter biscuit, but even that was too much. Argh, nerves.
We drove to campus and my parents helped me figure out my gown and the hood. Can I just say that wearing a cap and gown is awkward? Because to me, it really is. Who looks good in those things, anyways?! I handed them my phone after ensuring it was on silent, and put on one last touch-up of lipgloss.
I met up with some friends and found my seat in the “holding” building. Everyone else was so happy and talkative and I just wanted it to be over with. Some whole group pictures were taken, and that was actually fun. I stood with my friend Mel, and we could not stop laughing. Her mom kept telling us to behave. It was hilarious.
After pictures and last minute checks in the mirror, we lined up and got ready for our grand entrance. I was in between two people I didn’t really know, but we all were on the same page with our emotions of nervousness and excitement.
Walking in, I focused on not tripping, and trying to spot family/friends in the audience. I was successful in both 🙂
Once we sat down, I felt a little better. I just wanted this thing to get over with as quickly as possible because I was hungry! Our president spoke, orchestra played, choir sang, a man spoke, and next thing I knew, people were standing up getting ready to get their diplomas!
My row stood and walked to the bottom of the steps. My heart was racing and I was trying to keep a smile on my face. When I heard my name, I carefully ascended the steps, shook hands and got my diploma, smiled a big smile, and walked down the stairs. I did it. I did it. I did it!!!
The rest of the ceremony flew by and before I knew it, I was standing outside anxiously awaiting my family and friends and familiar faces.
After taking tons of pictures on multiple cameras & cell phones, we realized that most people had cleared out and left. Oh well, my family is always the last to leave! We went into the cafeteria
that I was so glad I would never have to eat in again and I met up with a few favorite professors and fellow Linguistics/Spanish majors!
lowhighlight of my day was a final hug and kiss on the cheek from Jimmy one last time.
And just like that, graduation was over, goodbyes were said, and I was changing out of my dress and into jeans for the drive back home.
Did I really just graduate college and say goodbyes to people whom I loved within a span of a few hours?! So surreal.
We dinnered at The Olive Garden and arrived back home in Durham late that evening. I went up to my room, still full of unpacked college stuff, and pulled out my computer. I teared up reading all the encouraging comments, messages, and tweets congratulating me on graduating. Wow.
Of course now, a year later, I look back fondly on that day. Despite the stress, nerves, and uncomfortableness before graduation, the actual event and reception were worth it. I wish I remembered more of the words that were spoken, the faces seen, and the hugs given, because now I don’t remember much. I must be getting old, since my memory is fading 😉
I’m sad to say that it’s been a year since I visited my alma mater and some of my dear college friends. Most of them still live in and around the Greenville area, but every time I try to visit, something comes up. Why is it so hard keeping in touch with people you lived with for three years?
Growing up is rough, but I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned in this past year. I’m thankful for the fact that I went to college, and graduated with a degree in a field I am passionate about. Sure, nobody has heard of my alma mater, and although I have a few complaints about my time there, it holds a special place in my heart. I grew so much as a person during my time in college, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
A year ago today I graduated from college.