Monday, June 15, 2015
Five Eight Fifteen
Now a grizzled alumna, I can look back over my entire undergrad career and point at things that were awesome and things that were hard and things that I regret. My biggest regret of my four years at this school was straightening my hair the night before May 8, 2015.
The day before graduation was like any other day when one finishes their undergrad degree. You know, cramming for a seismology final in the library a half hour before it starts with a couple classmates. Celebrating with Cheesecake Factory leftovers afterwards while watching Netflix. And ending with dinner with old friends.
Ethan and I talked while Rebecca went to get something. Ethan, who had graduated last May, reminisced with me on the hard times at Mines.
"I'm so glad I don't go to that school any more," he sighed.
"Yeah," I said. Then I remembered I was done, and smiled. "Me too."
Rebecca and I remembered that we would have to wake up early the next day. Ughh. So I went home, straightened my hair, and eventually went to bed.
The countdowns on my phone were freaking out when I woke up at 7:15. Five eight fifteen. The day we had been waiting for. The day that would be a blur.
Rachel asked me when I was getting to campus. "Well I just woke up. So...7:45?" I hung my cords and stuff over my neck, hid my fanny pack under my flappy black gown, put on my wool socks and boots, and headed over. My fanny pack proved to be quite handy, filled with water for dehydrated and hungover friends, chapstick, glasses cleaner, and my phone to take pictures with.
I remember chaos. I remember being herded around like cattle. It was weird and cool seeing the class of 2015 all together in one room. Also overwhelming. I found my GP (geophysics) peeps before walking off to Kafadar to hand my parents my camera and coat. I didn't need my coat anymore because I found some ponchos. I should have grabbed 30--one for each GP kid--but only grabbed a couple.
I remember frantically calling a couple of my friends on the phone while Dawn rounded us up for the GP group pic. I remember handing Austin my extra poncho. I remember someone over the speaker system calling for various names that didn't make it to check-in. I remember trying to find my number on the floor which determined the order in which we walked out. It was very confusing because some of the GP kids were a few rows away. It just so happened I got to stand by Brady, my old friend from freshman year. (Big gulps, huh?)
Finally they herded us outside over the soggy grass down the soggy street. And that's when the Class of 2015's worst hairday started.
There is no other way to describe those three hours than "The Worst". Or maybe "The best of times; the worst of times". A fitting end to our undergraduate journey.
Our major was one of the last to walk in to the fenced-in region on the commons. While waiting, Rich, our GravMag professor, came by to say hi and tease that he shouldn't have never let us graduate while offering his umbrella. If we had failed GravMag, we probably wouldn't have been in that soggy ceremony. Oh well. We went to go sit down in our seats and I tried to get rid of the puddle before the president made us sit down in it.
The rest is blur, but I remember terrible speeches ("blah blah blah horizontal drilling...blah blah blah energy independence" and other non-motivating, non-inspirational buzzwords), soaked hair and fogged up glasses, turning back to look at Rachel whenever something in the ceremony annoyed me, putting my poncho on before the MechEs started to walk, forgetting to change my tassel until Chloe reminded me, the rainwater making a waterfall on the canopy for people to walk under, people losing their graduation hats, said graduation hats becoming flimsy, and wanting the whole ordeal to be over quickly. I barely remember walking across the stage, and remember that we were being rushed and didn't get to shake Terry's hand. I remember Dave Hale proudly smiling us on from the faculty section though, and waving to me right before we walked. When it was the grad students' turn, I remember our GP section cheering for our TAs graduating with master's degrees. And I remember everybody cheering so hard when the very last person had walked across the stage. The best part of the ceremony was when it had ended.
This is where I'm supposed to wax sentimental about how all the best parts of Mines were scattered in those four years and how getting a degree to hang on the wall from Mines is alright, but there were so many other intangible things that we don't get diplomas for that were even more valuable.
But let's save that for another post.