I graduated from college on May 11, 1997, 11 years ago this Sunday. It was Mother’s Day that day, just as it’s Mother’s Day on this May 11.
I was so very happy.
I’d graduated with honors. My parents, sister, and grandmother were there. I’d DONE it.
I was so very sad.
I was leaving some of the best friends I’d ever made. I was leaving a place that had been home for most of the previous four years. I was sadder still because I knew in my heart that the town WOULD still be home for years, even though I wouldn’t be there. (And it was, still is in some ways.)
I remember seeing a friend with whom I’d interned the previous year waiting to take a photo of his daughter, a classmate, before Baccalaureate, and seeing him again when I was walking into Commencement. My friend Mike, my best friend from childhood, and his wife, who were celebrating their first anniversary, waved at me from near the back of the auditorium. My family, with my dad on the aisle, all looked so proud.
I remember little about the ceremony, except for the fact that my name was listed in the program as being a December graduate… and knowing that I’d completed all the requirements to graduate… and wondering if my diploma would be in the diploma cover or not. It was. (Little did I know that handing the diploma to my dad as I walked out after the ceremony saved my mother 15 extra minutes of worry. When SHE saw that I was listed as a December graduate, she burst into tears, not knowing if I knew, and worrying about ME.)
After graduation, I didn’t get to say goodbye to Bryan and Leslie, who left right after the ceremony. (I’m still sad about that, 11 years later, and they remain some of my best friends ever.)
We had a small reception in my parents’ hotel room. Only one family was able to come. I knew it wasn’t personal — it was graduation day and Mother’s Day and Mike and Maria’s anniversary, after all — but I was so sad. I remember curling up in my mom’s lap and crying and crying and crying.
After awhile, I went back to my room — on a VERY empty hall — and finished packing. The resident assistant came by to check on me. I was in bed by that time, so she tucked me in. 🙂 I cried again.
The next morning, I took one last “lap” around campus, took a few more pictures, and with mom next to me in the car, drove away from campus, something I’d sworn for weeks I wouldn’t be able to do. I was proud of myself.
Read other Friday Flashbacks here. And post your own. It’s fun!
Bryan and Leslie (taken after Baccalaureate). They’d been married almost a year at this point.
My favorite professor, Dr. Michael Longinow, and me.
(I have SCADS of photos of my family from that day, but eleven years and several moves have scattered my photos hither and yon. I was lucky to find these.)