Well, by the time I finish typing this journal, it will have technically been yesterday. (unless dA time is a few hours behind, which I think it is?)
Anyway, I've had a very eventful two days, but let's rewind about 30 hours, back to thursday evening. My family and friends finally make it into town after about a four hour drive. My mom and I try to work out how we will situate ourselves tomorrow morning. She doesn't understand I value practicality and efficiency above courtesy and tradition. She also doesn't understand that my friends are NOT helpless whiny baby idiots who need me to hold their hands. We're all adults who can take care of ourselves and survive. If they are hungry and want to go buy food, they're more than welcome to. They don't need me to do it. And yes, I can be awake and ready for the day in thirty minutes or less or else your pizza is free.
But that's ranting for another day. I give my mom my unopened cap and gown. She wants to iron it for tomorrow which is silly because no one is going to see any wrinkles on it in the graduate sea of black from where they sit, and I fully intend to sit on the floor and wrinkle it up regardless. But I give it to her so she leaves faster and I can get the air mattress set up in the dorm faster. Once done, I make my friends watch two movies with me. One, a very low-budget (but not actually terrible) movie called "A Talking Cat!?!" (which has the greatest character-injury scene in all of cinematography, I must say) and a really good, if not weird, movie called "It's Such A Beautiful Day." I had watched ISABD a few days prior and really wanted to share it with them. In retrospect, it may not have been the best move because we couldn't fall asleep right away afterwards. Or maybe it was just because my room was so hot.
I wake up eleven minutes before my alarm goes off and get ready in complete darkness. My friends wake up too and I start taking what suitcases I can to my car while they pack up their sleeping supplies. I have a short discussion with thelastperformer
explaining that yes, I will wear nothing nicer than a t-shirt and jeans under my cap and gown because comfort and practicality, and I don't care if people see them. If they are looking at my legs and feet when I get that degree, well then they're looking in the wrong place. My friends aren't very fast at getting ready for the day and packing and we have to leave most of the stuff in the room to come back for it after the ceremony. My mom, sister and grandmother are in one car. We catch a ride to the basketball stadium with my dad. It starts to rain, and I hop out of the car with my cap and gown on a hanger. They suggest an umbrella, but I decline because I don't want to hold on to an umbrella for 3+ hours. I dress myself in the rain and chuck the hanger in the trashcan indoors.
I spend 20 minutes walking in circles not knowing where the fuck to go. I ask people better dressed than me. they don't know. I ask people handing out event booklets. They don't know. Another graduate who I don't ever remember meeting before, but apparently knows ME by name, calls me out and sticks with me. By sheer luck we find out where to go, but then get separated. I find my department and a few familiar faces. There are only ten entomologist students graduating this december. 8 are girls. One is late, but catches up after we are already seated. But that's a little too far ahead. We are under the stadium, waiting to line up. I see my favorite ento TA is graduating with a PhD, and I find my adviser and give her a hug. I am dead on my feet. I sit on the ground, wrinkling my gown like I planed to do. Pictures are taken, cards for photographs are filled out, "what will you do next?" cards are filled out. People wonder about and chat aimlessly. It's all so efficient and organized and by that I mean not an ounce of order at all.
Lots of people have really nice decked out caps. Of all the caps I saw, none looked sloppy or bad. So many were beautifully bedazzled I wish I could have taken pictures of them all. At last we walk out and my stomach aches with nerves and hunger. all I had so far today was two poptarts- both eaten simultaneously. EFFICIENCY.
We sit in the chairs and I can't find my family or friends in the stands. There's prayers and boring pointless routine and finally they call the names. Three schools are graduating at 9 am, and my department is in the first. There are so many awesome names being called out. the best one i remember is "stormy". While I wait for the diplomas to finish being handed out I play on flight rising, deviant art and mspaintadventures. I finish re-reading through the midnight crew intermission before stopping to save battery.
I find my family and friends sitting behind me to my left. Apparently my friends got told off by a super conservative family for showing enthusiasm to all the graduates when they clapped for every one. It's clear these people lead sad lives and only came to the ceremony to see if anybody would trip and embarrass themselves on stage so they could film it, send it into afv, and cash in on the ten thousand dollar prize, and all my friends' extra clapping would have ruined the video. WELL JOKES ON THEM BECAUSE NOBODY TRIPPED.
When the last of the degrees are handed out, we awkardly make our way out. All graduates are forced out into the cold-rainy air against our will. I half debate just leaving then, but don't, and I regret sticking around. I'm starving, freezing, exhausted and wet. I do not smile for any picture, and thank god I have transition lenses. The bags under my eyes would have been hideous. My dad HEAVILY SUGGESTS that I ride back to my dorm with him, even though I say it will be faster to walk back due to all the traffic. Half his arguements sound like tired begging and the other half vaguely hidden threats. But when he can't find his car because he forgot where he parked around the circular building, I pat his shoulder and wish him well and start walking. He asks me What About Your Friends? And I try to explain to him that I am not their keepers. They can choose to ride with him or walk with me, but I am not waiting. Luckily my friends are a bit faster at walking than packing.
We eat in the MSC restaurant then make it back to my dorm. I pull up my car because they're still packing and taking turns using the bathroom, then we shove everything in the trunk or in the back and head off to HEB where I fill up my tank. Then we hit the road. The first third is nice- quiet and contemplative. We reach the CVS in Bastrop and take a potty break and buy provisions. I check my tires because I'm neurotic about tire condition and notice one is dangerously low. We hop over the intersection to Buc-ee's were thelastperformer teaches me how to inflate them. We mistake a water pump for the air pump.
I apparently just missed my family while we were at buc-ee's, but I didn't really care. I was tired and sore and only a third the way there. The drive from Bastrop to San Marcos was uneventful. We listen to Adiemus.
Once in San Marcos things got real. The sky had been pleasantly overcast all the first two thirds of the drive, but now it was clear and the sun was setting right in my eyes. It was so bright and painful I had to drive in the slow lane because I had a hard time just seeing the road. I borrowed thelastperformer's sunglasses, but I still couldn't read exit signs all that well. The sun eventually fucked off and we made it home safely. And now i'm here in my bed with my cat. I just finished watching the season finale of Legend of Korra and I feel neutral about it, but damn, those korrasami tease. That ending just hit me right in the shipping feels.
I still can't really believe I just graduated with my first college degree. It feels surreal and like an out of body experience. It also doesn't seem concrete as I am going back this spring to finish ANOTHER degree in Wildlife and Fisheries. I'm kind of sad I didn't get to cross the stage with my three closest ento friends, but then I realized this meant I didn't have to put up with the one douche bag we all hate in our classes. Araktugage
, I'm sorry you'll most likely be sitting with him when it's your turn, but I'm glad I'm not you.
Now it's break time. I'm probably going to start working on my OCT entry soon. I've literally thought about it every day since the round started, and I finally have it all scripted out in my head. I will also be volunteering at my zoo this winter, mondays through thursdays, 7am to 4pm with birds again (though a different bird section than before). I'm excited to go back, and see if our zoo does anything special for our animals at christmas.
I hope you are all having wonderful holidays and a happy new year~!