It is with great pleasure that I, Dr. 28 and a PhD, announce that graduation weekend came and went beautifully. Graduation was at the beginning of May and the weather was lovely, on the hot-as-hell kinda way, ha!
The BF and I flew in (as driving would have taken us nearly 2 days). Rented a car and headed for a friend’s house who, together with her boyfriend, put up with us for a little while (Thank you!). They live 20 minutes away from school and I remember helping them move and visiting once or twice before my defense. The BF and I were dog tired but there were so many things to catch up on that we stayed up close to 1am the day before graduation. Dear friend picked up my gown (after having to do a bit of arm twisting at school) and on graduation morning we all headed out. I was storming across campus as the designated parking area was ages away from the graduation grounds. But I made it safely and bid farewell to my BF and company until later. And later was later. Tons of students had to walk the walk, and eventually all professional and grad school students walked.
It was exhilarating. To see so many people, all celebrating us. YAY! I looked particularly HOT (not!) in my gown. Turns out 10 or so classmates were also walking, including a few from my old department. We took pics and then settled to do the walk. The graduation ceremony was like nothing I was expecting. It was brief (I guess since it looked like it was about to reach over 100F degrees at any moment). The protocol things were over soon enough, and then the presentation of students and degree-granting and diploma-handing parts were on their way. That was very beautiful as students from different faculties stood up and were applauded by all. Eventually the MA’s and PhD’s were granted, at which point it was almost midday. I almost got a lovely face-tan (if it weren’t for my trusty SPF lotion and makeup). By 1pm the whole ceremony was off and off we were to take the traditional pics around campus and return the rented gown (the thing costs upwards of 500 USDs …. seriously!).
Once the gown was returned, the BF and friends headed over to my old lab where more pics were taken. I then said a quick hello and goodbye to old friends and profs. And told them how much they’re missed. We headed out of school after 4pm, and finally had lunch (I only had a bit of toast and yogurt in my stomach). We had lunch at a cool eatery close to campus and I got meself a beer or two, hehe. I was on cloud 9. I also got to see some of the places I hung out, and reminisced of how much fun I’d had.
The rest of the weekend was spent shopping (or stimulating the local economy as my friends put it) and meeting up with whoever was available to meet. We headed to church early Sunday morning before leaving town and made it safely to Canada later that day. Church was good and it was great to see some old friends there too.
I’ve been back for some time now, and I can’t help but feel a pang in my heart, as if I hadn’t said my proper goodbyes to the place that was home for almost 6 years. The city and the people were the same (though the prices were AWESOME compared to Canada, I still don’t get why Canadians pay tons more for stuff and food). I truly miss the good times spent at Big Name U. Now I’m truly an alumna and I look back fondly at my memories and time spent there. In a way it was/is hard, but I also know that it needed to happen. And I needed a career and life shift.
All in all graduation/commencement was fun. And I am SO glad I didn’t miss a second of it. It’s a highly recommended event on my list of “musts” so, if you ever doubt if you should go back and attend graduation (except if your boss was an arse) … don’t hesitate. Just do it!
And to answer a dear commenter’s question about some of the post-grad goodies: my diploma is awesome, but I expected something bigger (after 6 years all I get is something slightly bigger than my high school one … bummer, ha!). I will frame it, but now it’s heading to my parent’s house to be kept safe. I’m now waiting for the graduation photos (proofs) from school and I may even purchase the DVD, even if I only look tiny on the screen, hehe. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
Congrats to all grads!
I’m just days away from flying out to see my old labmates, my previous boss and the remaining friends that have yet to defend at my old school. It feels warm and familiar, to drive around the places I left last July, to meet and greet people, to celebrate my PhD all formal. I’m excited to be around familiar faces, to go back and enjoy old sights, sounds and feelings. When I look back at those 6 years, it feels surreal, like it almost didn’t happen, but it did. It’s all real. I’m a postdoc now, and I have moved on somewhat, though it pains me to be far from the familiarity of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m finally letting my guard down and enjoying life in Canada to the fullest. A few weeks back I had this moment, almost an epiphan,y about how life used to be, and how it is now. How things keep on moving, soon after one is done, and that my life, career path and success only started in grad school, and I have thousands of miles to travel still.
I bought a dress I thought I could afford, it’s lovely and colourful, and I’m excited to be there. I also purchased an awesome pair of flats, since the graduation guidelines encourage students to wear nice but comfy clothes, and shoes which facilitate moving around flawlessly, effortlessly, and, in the event of rain, allow you to run to a safe haven until things calm down I opted for that. I get into town late, so I will have to wake up extra early, pick up my gown and hope and pray that my pevious PI and friends will find the graduation spot.
My parents cannot be there, and the BF and a bunch of grad school friends will meet me there.
In other news, I have yet to achieve concrete results for my project. I can safely say now that those first months in which I was doing 2 to 3 FPLC runs (per day) with all sorts of columns were not a waste, as I have my protein reservoir stocked with some of my most needed materials. But, I go through it so fast it’s crazy, so I’m gearing up to spend a few more weeks stocking up. Since we’ll get tons of summer students, and some grad students are finishing it will be crazy to find the time. I do hope I can spend some quality time doing my thing without too much trouble and I can replenish my protein stock. I have yet to get my hands on heavier equipment and techniques, but I’m hopeful there will be a away in which we can troubleshoot and move ahead with my project. I can truly say it will be a kick ass thing, and I hope that in the year I have left I can achieve something, at least get it on its way so someone else can take over and move it further.
My family is about to welcome a new addition, my nephew which will soon be with us. I cannot wait to hold him in my arms, to say sweet things to him, to savour his presence and soak up some of the goodness that comes with babies.
I’m getting ready for a possible European vacation, for which I’ll give more details once I’m fully convinced I will not be killed for asking for 3 weeks off during the summer. I’m sure the boss is nice enough not to put up a fight, or a nasty face, but still I’m hesitant about asking for vacays, seeing that I haven’t pushed my project extra far. I mean, I have results, the boss has seen them. They’re just not what was expected. And while I’m sure I’m not the culprit, it still makes me feel uncomfortable when I have very little to show and much to try.
Other than that, nothing else is going on for now. Life is good and I’m hoping for bigger, better things.
To all graduate students who will walk this may, enjoy, congratulations. YOU DESERVE IT!