|Me and Aaron|
|A few TEE friends|
|Most prestigious face I could manage|
Well, sort of. If you must know, I kind of crashed graduation.
I wasn't allowed to walk in April because I got hired to do some design work for my department over the summer—a job I can only have if I am still a student. So I pushed my graduation date back to August. No big deal, I thought.
But then, I got the email from Bev.
Bev is the deparment secretary for the School of Technology. Let's take a moment to talk about Department Secretaries at universities.
And that is all you need to know.
Okay, so she's not a giant slug, and she is did once deliver me from having to take 7am AutoCad for a third time by letting a InDes class I took count for that credit (that is a story for another day. Also, only class I've had to take more than once. Don't judge.) but let's get serious, department secretaries are not hired to be warm and fuzzy. They are hired because they are efficient professionals and scare the snot out of college students.
Anyway Bev sent me an email explaining that I was not allowed to walk in April if I was graduating in August. My hopes were squashed. For about 1.2 seconds I considered turning down this job for the summer just so I could walk, but but Boston is E-ssspensive and Aaron's internship is unpaid so there's no way I could do that. This left me feeling rather crushed. My major is very small and I wanted to walk with my friends! Me, Miss Open-Major herself was graduating, this was not a ceremony I wanted to miss.
So I devised a plan. It was called, walk anyway. Graduation is a big ceremony. There are lots of people there—surely they wouldn't notice if I just slipped into the line! They read your name off a slip of paper you hand them as you walk across the stage so it's not like I'd mess up their list. I'd have all the glory!
The morning of graduation came and after a lovely waffle breakfast with some of my graduating friends Aaron went and picked up my cap and gown for me. After that I ran into the Wilk because I was a half hour late for the line-up which happening in the garden court. I spotted all my fellow TEE people standing on the far side of the atrium and went over to huddle with them. They were all holding cards with their names on them which they had gotten from a table at the front. I needed to get my card.
I approached the table. Bev was busy telling the Industrial Design students to stand in a single file line. That means one person in front of the other so I quickly asked the girl at the table for my name card. After asking me to spell my new italian last name twice she rifled through her stack rather slowly. My mind was shouting Hurry! Can't you see Bev will be coming back over here any second? Don't you know what she'll do to me if she knows I directly disobeyed the University Rules? but I just smiled calmly and prepared my story for what I would say when she didn't find my name in the stack. ("oh! weird! Do you have a blank one?") But there was a card with my name printed on it. I then remembered how I was supposed to tell the other department (McKay School of Education) that I wasn't graduating. Whoops. Well, my two schools can figure that all out with each other...
I took my card, and rushed back into the safety of my pengin-like cluster of TEE caps and gowns. We got ourselves assembled into a single file line, and then started the march in. My major was the last to leave the atrium for the ballroom, all I had to do now was the final pass by Bev. After I got into my seat I would be indistinguishable from all the other flat-hat grads and I doubted that even a department secretary would pull me from the line then. But here, in the atrium, it was a definite possibility.
We walked one by one past her watchful eyes as she occasionally told someone to fix their tassel or stay in a straight line. I was getting nearer and nearer. I had no idea what I would say to her if she asked me what I was doing. I didn't have a story for this situation. Maybe if I cried things would work out? I was just a few steps away from Bev when I decided the best thing I could do was tip my shield of a hat in her direction and do my best to obscure my face. I held my card up and acted like I was picking part of the sticker on it off, tilted my head very oddly to the side and marched right passed without making eye contact.
Well, I had made it. I sat in the back row of the graduates, listened to two speeches and then it was our turn to approach the platform at the front. I again had to pass by Bev who was standing in the center aisle, but I felt fairly confident at this point. I looked over at my family and Chelsea who were sitting on the far left, elevated on the stage so I could see them perfectly. They were dying—filled with anxiety and laughing their heads off as I drew nearer and nearer to Bev. Nobody knew exactly what would happen.
I was close. Three feet, two feet, then I was right in front of her. We made eye contact and she looked at me with a careful expression. I gave her a small smile and then passed to the other side.
At that moment when I crossed the aisle, just one step past Bev, with my family laughing and pumping their fists in the air I knew I had made it. Right there, standing in the middle of a row of chairs was when I graduated.
Happy graduation to me.