Monday, May 08, 2006

Okay, okay, I give

What's the use of fighting it, right? Besides, I haven't got the energy right now... I've become a sad, mushy mound of limp, listless acquiescence. No shame in it, though. I'm a grad student. I'm academic slave labor. I should be used to having no will of my own by now.

And what fight have I relinquished? The battle to pull a fast one on a few people, and have a little fun with graduation. Looking at it now, it's not so big a thing. Kind of a bummer, but I'll live.

Basically, it was going to be a surprise, mostly on my parents. John's graduation commencement is this coming weekend, and I was going to be flying in anyway, so that was no surprise. And my parents were going to come, and wouldn't they be surprised when they looked up to see me walking across the stage, too. Since I officially graduated in August of last year, and University of Dallas doesn't have a walk in the summer, I was informed that my walk could take place in this May's commencement instead. So I thought it might be interesting if I made arrangements to walk, and then sort of surprise everybody with it. At first, I was going to surprise John, too, but I decided that was probably a really bad idea, since he'd get aggravated with me for trying to steal his thunder or something. So I told him, and he seemed fine with it. Then, to make sure things were going according to plan, I called my parents to make sure they were coming to see John's graduation. Naturally, my dad wanted to cancel... something about a motorcycle ride with friends. So I try to subtlely convince him to come anyway, to no avail. Mom will be there, though. I decided to go ahead and tell her, since the surprise seemed to be spoiled anyway, with dad unable to come. Besides, I figured it would at least be a surprise to John's family, right?

No, not so much. It turns out that John had already let the cat out of the bag with at least Bob, his stepdad. At that point, I was ready to be done with the ruse. I told him to go ahead and let everyone know. Besides, he then told me that he didn't feel it was appropriate to make that sort of thing a surprise anyway. Frankly, I couldn't see what it would hurt, but I understand. He then added, in so many words, his other opinion... It's his special day, and my sort-of-special day, the way he sees it. Fine... I understand his point of view. It's wrong, but I understand it.

So here's my vent: It IS special for me!

Okay, so I was done with my degree in August. So I've been living in New York since before that. So I got my diploma from University of Dallas in December. So I'm finishing my first year of my new program. Does that mean I don't get to walk in my commencement for my masters program? Hardly. I had the option of walking last May, before having completed my masters requirements. I chose not to... I hadn't graduated yet, and it felt strange that I should go throught the motions when I hadn't really accomplished what we were supposed to be celebrating. A lot of people do it, but it wasn't for me. Besides, it's pretty amazing to think that both John and I could walk in the same ceremony. That's damn cool, if you ask me. He graduated from undergrad two years before I did... I took a year off in California, then came back to finish. I was at his ceremony, and he was at mine. Now we can walk together... unless we walk together at our doctoral commencement, I don't see how we can top this.

How does that not mean the world to me? How is that not important?

The point it, it's my commencement, too. And yes, it's my official commencement ceremony. I'm not trying to take anything away from John's experience. How could I? It means something entirely different to him than it does to me. His accomplishment over these past three years culminates at his commencement, and he deserves his accolades. At the same time, I would think, so do I. When I found out I couldn't walk in the summer, I made the best of it, convncing myself and everyone else that it wasn't important to me. What choice did I have? Besides, I found it unlikely that I'd be trying to walk the following May... it seemed so far away, and I was sure I'd have actually gotten over it by then. Then, when May was getting closer, I started to think otherwise.

Actually, it's Chuck's fault.

It was his idea. We were talking about John's upcoming graduation, and then he brought up the idea of me walking also, if it was even possible. I thought about it for a second, dismissed it, then realized I wasn't actually dismissing it. When I walked at my undergraduate commencement, I was happy beyond words. I worked my ass off to get there... I'd been through a whole hell of a lot more than most undergrads who were at commencement that day. I'd been through cancer, the loss and reclaiming of my voice, two engagements, a marriage, a year of living on a mountain in California with a bunch of yogists... among other things. I was older than I had imagined myself at my undergrad commencement, but I was there, damn it, and I was all smiles.

My masters was its own battle; I worked four jobs at once while going to school full time, fought the administration at the school for the opportunity to attain my MA instead of an MPsy (which meant completing a language requirement and a thesis the size of the headaches it gave me), spent too many week-long stints in the hospital due to bronchial crises (which, incidentally, I've had none of since leaving Texas), and lived a life for the sake of academic advancement and passion-chasing that no one seemed to understand. I've come through the other side, and it was anything but easy. It was late nights, lots of ridiculous work, and sacrifices the likes of which I've never made before. I wanna celebrate.

I'm walking on Sunday, May 14th, at the University of Dallas campus, with my best friend in all the world, in recognition of our hard work toward successful completion of our masters degrees. His is an MH (Humanities) with a classics concentration, mine's an MA in psychology with a clinical concentration. We deserve this... both of us... and we've worked extremely hard to get here. And when we walk on Sunday, I'm guessing we'll both be all smiles.


3 Comments:

Blogger Tony said...

Hiya Emily long time no see.

Love ya
Tony and Karen

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 12:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Kimbie said...

May 14th - that's this weekend!!

CONGRATULATIONS EMILY!! and to John as well! I think that's fabulous news!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

Good for you Emily, you damn sure should walk, and I imagine you will both be all smiles too...

I'm sure your dad will be "Tripping" when he realizes he missed it....hee hee(get the joke?)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 11:51:00 AM  

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