Now that it’s been almost three months since I graduated, I figure it’s about time to blog about it. Turns out I’m just as bad as blogging things on time as I always have been. Sorry about that.
So. I graduated. And took lots and lots of pictures for your enjoyment.
I woke up super early so I could stand around the track in the athletic center for several hours for no apparent reason. Hopefully my blurry photo does something to capture the huge number of people milling around in caps and gowns.
We walked out onto the astroturf, down Dorm Row, and towards Killian Court. I took a photo of my Brass Rat- it was the last time I’d be wearing it “beaver down.”
Then came an unbelievably cool moment that I think will stay with me for a really long time. We walked through the tent and out onto Killian Court and an awesome view of the Great Dome to the soundtrack of Pomp and Circumstance. It’s not something to be described so much as experienced, but it was sort of the exact moment when you realize “Oh my God, I’m about to graduate from MIT. That’s AWESOME.” It’s like the complementary bookmark to the equally memorable moment of opening your acceptance letter and realizing, “Oh my God, I’m about to go to MIT. That’s AWESOME.” (Believe it or not, back in the day, we used to get our decision letters in the mail. I’m a dinosaur, I know.)
…we got to turn our rings around. There’s a tradition surrounding the Brass Rat (MIT’s class ring). Students get their rings at the end of sophomore year, and wear them with the beaver facing towards them. Once they graduate and become alumni, they wear the ring the opposite way, with the beaver facing outwards. (There are also traditional colorful explanations about why the beaver “sits” on the student until graduation, but I leave that as an exercise for the reader.) Turning your brass rat around at commencement is a milestone everyone looks forward to, almost from the moment they first slip the ring on their finger.
I was near the beginning of the ceremony (Degrees are awarded alphabetically by school, numerically by course, alphabetically by last name, and alternating graduate and undergraduate. Don’t worry, it’s nearly impossible to understand, even when you’re standing there counting down the names until they call you.) so after getting my diploma I got to spend a lot of time sitting around while everyone else got their diplomas. I started reading the book I had snuck in with me.
Finally, the ceremony was over and we got to start the fun of taking a million pictures. I normally hate getting my picture taken (ask me about prom sometime, ugh) but this was actually kind of fun.
My grandma made the trip up to watch me graduate.
My sister decided that she should be the one holding my diploma in the pictures…
…so I had to steal it back and protect it from her. (My sister is 18, my parents and I just dropped her off at her freshman dorm about a week ago.)
Me and my parents.
And of course, the Conner 2 delegation! Our old GRT, Chris, was supposed to graduate two years ago but had a lot of technical hangups that needed to get cleared up first. So he moved to DC with his wife while he ironed out the kinks, and then came back to graduate with Adelaide, Rick and I, which we were very excited about. So of course we had a Conner 2 reunion (Chris and I had both left the floor, technically, although I hadn’t gone very far).
By the way, I know it may look as if I’m dressed nicely underneath my gown, but looks can be deceiving. I knew that to survive the hours-long ceremony I would need my cell phone, my camera, a book, and some snacks. I also knew they wouldn’t allow us to carry bags into the ceremony, which left only one attire choice: cargo pants. So I found an appropriate black t-shirt that would blend in with the collar of my gown and my cargo pants with the biggest pockets. Then I rolled the pants up so they wouldn’t show beneath the hem of my gown, and put on some nice but comfortable shoes (which I bought in Madrid for 6 euros- believe or not, those shoes are a huge fashion trend in Spain) and figured no one would know the difference.
After the Conner 2 reunion, I ventured over to the first aid tent to say hi to the EMTs. This might have been the most fun part of my day. I haven’t been involved in the organization for the past year, but I really love all the people in the group and missed them a lot, so it was great to see them on commencement day.
I listened intently while our supervisor, Mark, brandished my own diploma at me while dispensing life advice. Mark is great.
Like I said, there were a lot of pictures. My sister just wouldn’t stop snapping her camera. There are actually quite a few photos of the back of my head walking in front of her, on the phone coordinating the Conner 2 reunion, and waving sarcastically to my sister as she took a picture of me talking with my friends.
And now? Well, now I’m hanging out at home, searching for a job, and working at the awesome summer job I had before I ever left home for MIT. That’s right, I graduated from MIT and promptly got a job as a lifeguard at a waterpark.
The sky’s the limit when you’re an MIT engineer. =)