This is a picture of me at my graduation last week. I wasn’t prepared for the huge responsibility that comes with graduating an American university; least prepared of all for the heavy crown that I had to don. The fur cloak, I was completely down with- PETA can go sod themselves.
Just kidding. Though I have no photographic proof as of yet, I DID graduate Brigham Young University last week. And though there was no crown, there was a rather tight fitting cap that left an elastic mark around my skull: a sort of educational halo, I like to think of it.
The graduation ceremonies were rather exciting- another thing I was not prepared for. For a foreigner, my support crowd was pretty impressive: my mother came all the way from Frankfurt to cheer me on, one of my grandmothers came from England, one of my brothers and his wife drove all the way from Modesto, one of my aunts flew in from San Antonio, and my sister-aunt brought my favourite toddler-cousins from Payson. My awesome roommate was also there. Thank you all for being there!
There were 5,996 of us graduating this semester, and we filled the Marriott center on campus. Walking in was a big to-do: it was stifling hot, and walking across campus in heels and a heat-encasing robe wasn’t my favourite activity. But during the commencement exercises, which included a thought provoking talk by Dallin H. Oaks, I will admit I actually allowed a couple of tears to roll down my cheeks (that sounded very poetic because, hello, I am a college graduate. From now, you can expect only the best reading of your life). I can’t decide if I cried because I was actually moved by the talks, if it was the glee at having finally arrived at D-day, or if was out of sheer exhaustion and relief. I tend to believe it was the latter, seeing as I was running on approximately six hours of sleep over the past three weeks. I have often implied how I have managed to perfect the art of procrastination, and this semester really took the cake. It’s almost as if the academic Gods sat together up there in January and decided to finally make me pay for my years of wrong-doing. As such, my skills were put to the test. I wrote approximately fifty papers in the last month of my undergraduate career- and they weren’t piddly 2 pagers either. They were each about 5-12 pages. Seeing as how I didn’t take a single math class in college, I’ll let you work out how many pages that was in all.
My personal highlight- and by “highlight” I mean moment of sheer disgust/panic/hatred/loathing- came in the early hours of one morning when I realized that I had an entire research paper on six books that I had not yet read, due the next morning : NOT the day AFTER, as I had previously designed.
Between scrambling to complete the busiest semester of my life, dealing with a couple of other unexpected dramas, and preparing for my mother’s visit, I was just a mini disaster away from drowning my head in a toilet. Yet, I prevailed, and marched with the rest of the Class of 2012, albeit in a zombie-like fashion.
Here are some pieces of wisdom I stumbled across in the past four months (seeing as how I have pretty much abandoned you in my time of strife):
1. Sometimes, though it may pain you to do so, you have to learn to know when enough is enough, and you have to use that awful word: “No.” I don’t like doing this, but whether it is saying this word to a friend, loved one, or even to yourself, it can make the difference between a nervous break down and another successful accomplishment.
2. Gratitude is man’s way of demonstrating god-like benevolence. Being able to thank someone sincerely is one of the most important social skills one can develop.
3. Sometimes white lies aren’t so white as they are florescent yellow. I’m looking at YOU, 24 Hour Fitness Manager. Am I exploring the North Pole for the next six months? No. But you and I both know that’s the only thing I could say to you to get you to stop sucking my bank account dry.
4. Taking mini vay-cays is a God-given right and ought to be executed as often as possible. Okay, so maybe it’s NOT a god-given right, but the concept still ought to be revisited as often as possible. A couple of my friends and I slipped off for a little R&R in Las Vegas in March. If you thought this wasn’t possible in Vegas of all places, I have the secret location of a magnificent spa that will prove you wrong.
5. It’s never too late to make unexpected life friends. I firmly believe that I have made the best friends I have ever had these past couple of years. It sometimes surprises me to find that it’s not always necessary to know someone for a long time before becoming, as Anne Shirley would say, bosom friends.
6. Love, especially when purposefully ignored, can often be realized too late to fix something you never believed was broken. I can’t really think how to explain this one better.
7. I am often a stubborn sunuvabeach. This won’t be news to
some many most of you. But the magnitude of this reality was news to me. Now I kind of get it- and I’m sorry to a couple of you, but also NOT sorry to a few many most of you.
8. The most fun you’ll have with anything will be when you can see the end in sight. This is a horrid piece of wisdom that I have found, but sadly it is true. Some of the best classes I have ever had, have happened this last semester. My piece of wisdom to those still enduring school is to take as many displaced classes as you can. If I had, I would have discovered that I had settled on possibly the wrong major, and that my heart belonged somewhere else.
9. Never regret the help of others. As stubborn as you like to be, accepting the help of others: whether it’s a hefty endorsement or a quick hug in passing, allowing someone to serve you in some way is as rewarding to you as it is to them.
I’ll leave it at nine, seeing as how TEN wisdoms would be a bit too high and mighty. I promise to post at least one graduation photo at some point. Until then- to those who have in any way lightened my load this past semester- or at least these past four or so weeks- THANK YOU. You’ve found me in caffeinated highs, sleep deprived lows, and uninspired mediums (?) and have pushed me a little harder toward to the finish line.