I graduated on Sunday.
As one of my housemates has said, I am accepting only condolences at this time. I’m still in shock that I’ll never be a college student again and I think the only way I can cope is to write about it. So bear with me for a series of posts to chronicle the end of the year and what’s going on now.
For me, the end started Friday night. May 11th. I had spent the day in NYC with Joey and met with some lovely folks about a potential job offer. Unfortunately, the meeting didn’t go as well as I had hoped (thought I am still hoping for an email in the coming weeks, keep your fingers crossed for me). I spent the evening taking the train back to CT, driving home, then driving up to school. Five hours of traveling later, I stumbled from my car and hauled my bag back to the house.
As I rounded the corner into our housing area, I found a cluster of friends outside our house all seated around a campfire. Hardly anyone was on campus any more since finals had ended that day; only the seniors were left, allowed to stay until graduation (which we referred to as “the g-word” until the big day).
We stayed up late, sitting around the fire while one of our Eagle Scout friends kept it roaring. We moved inside and sang along to some of our favorite songs while our friends played the guitar and the drums and sang. After an exhausting and worrisome day in NYC, it was just what I needed. I found myself bawling through our rendition of “Fix You” and I wasn’t alone. Nights like these are what I already miss the most.
The next morning though, it was off to the Cape.
It’s a tradition for the senior class to spend a week in Cape Cod between the end of finals and G-word. One of my amazing housemates arranged a rental house for us that was perfect. Every evening we took turns going grocery shopping and cooking dinner for the nine girls staying in the house. Each night a different group of students rented out a bar where the whole class went to hang out.
The weather cooperated and we spent plenty of time on the beach. We played football in the sand (I still have sand burns from the tackles), built sand castles, and plunged into the icy water.
When we got lazy and just wanted to spend a day inside on the couch, it rained so we didn’t even feel guilty that we didn’t make it down to the beach. It was the opposite of the last four years. We didn’t set alarms, we woke up whenever, we ate breakfast and meandered down to the beach. Eventually the boys would meet us there. Each day we played it by ear.
Eventually, Thursday arrived. The first of several senior events that weekend was that night: Formal.
We spent the day in the sun, getting some last-minute color, then drove back to the house in shifts to best utilize our two showers. Three hours, nine girls, and a bottle of hairspray later, we went back down to the beach to do pictures with all the boys.
We danced all night and collapsed into bed exhausted that night. Friday it was time to pack it up. We cleaned up and left the house to go back home to our house on campus. Friday evening the Alumni Association sponsored a BBQ for our class so we went up to the quad behind the admissions office for hot dogs and hamburgers. The tables were set for 10, but our house wasn’t content to be separated. We dragged together two tables and ate dinner together.
There was also a slide show composed of student-submitted photos. My friends had done a great job sending in pictures from our four years together and we had a good laugh looking back to see who had changed and who hadn’t at all.
Friday night, everyone wanted to be together. The entire senior class hung out in one of the upperclassmen housing areas. People dragged couches outside and a friend’s amp blared from a window.
The next morning was rehearsal for the G-word. We gathered up on the hill at noon to practice processing down to the quad. After getting our instructions, we were set loose to collect our cap and gown from the bookstore. An absolute stampede of students ensued…seriously there has to be a better way to do that. I spent a good majority of Saturday decorating my cap, which was a good thing because it turned out to be the star of the show…more on that later.
Saturday evening was the Commencement Eve Dinner Dance, so everyone’s parents came up. The dinner was lovely but the best part was seeing my parents breaking it down on the dance floor. My dad knew all the oldies and I actually got my mom to do the cha-cha slide!
Another tradition took place on Saturday night: Night on the Hill. After the parent dinner dance, seniors assembled from all over campus to gather up on the hill overlooking the entire campus. It was a night of tears, memories, laughter, and a lot of pictures. The g-word was pressing on all of us: tomorrow was the big day.