my friends and i would often joke about how at times our university seemed more like a finishing school than college. but the truth is, i’m so incredibly proud to call myself a graduate of vanderbilt university. and although i technically graduated last december, it didn’t seem to truly set in until this past friday, may 13, 2011 when i walked across the stage to receive my diploma.
i have to admit the entire day was not all strawberries and champagne (which were to come after the ceremony). at 5.30 that morning, i received a text alert stating that commencement had been moved from the beautiful alumni lawn on campus to the basketball gymnasium due to severe weather (which never came). i then arrived late to the gymnasium and haggardly ran onto the floor of the gym after the ceremony had started. yet even on this unluckiest of superstitious days, some wonderful moments seemed to have slipped by.
sitting in the sea of thousands of black caps and gowns, i couldn’t help but think back to my own high school graduation 5 years earlier. the 18 year-old me saw graduating high school as completely passé. it was merely the last hurdle to the ultimate goal: college. i felt ready to leave, ready to move on to bigger and better things. and now the 23 year-old me was sitting in a similar gym, wearing an almost identical cap and gown completely humbled by the fact that somehow i had managed to graduate college. i felt grateful for every moment because i knew that i had worked for it so much more than i had ever worked for anything in high school. i don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this but, college is tough. if you don’t have moments of sheer panic or existential meltdowns about what classes you’re going to take next semester, you probably don’t care about your future. honestly, there were times when i didn’t know how i would ever finish a paper, much less graduate.
so i didn’t care that they handed me an empty diploma (because my real one had already been mailed to me months earlier) or that i was sweating bullets due to the lack of AC in the gym or that i didn’t graduate summa cum laude of my class. because for once, finishing the race actually felt better than winning it.
i cannot tell you how elated i felt when the last name was finally called. because now, i could finally celebrate! my friend and fellow graduate alyssa and i did just that. our families and friends dined at one of our favorites restaurants sambuca and then headed downtown that night to boogie as only newly-minted vandy alums can.
congrats to all the graduates of 2011! as for me, i’ll be off to nyc in 3 weeks 🙂
my outfit: Tibi dress, Target wedges, David Yurman jewelry