Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Graduate

Well I did it. After two and a half years I have a Masters degree. It really seems like yesterday that I got this crazy idea and started asking friends with MHRs what I could do with it. I won't lie, it has been stressful and exhausting, but I am so glad I did it. So glad, in fact, that I'm going back in the fall to work on my LPC and figure out a Ph.D. program. So I'm a glutton for punishment. I figure if I'm not changing my name anytime soon I should at least accessorize it, right?

And here is the story of graduation.

Friday night was commencement. This is when all the graduates hang out on the football field while they announce the doctoral candidates and there is a speaker. I skipped this detail in undergrad and since I decided I was going to do everything for my Masters I was going to go. Then I talked myself out of it. Then I heard who the speaker was and talked myself back in. Then Friday it rained all day and they moved it inside to Lloyd Noble and I almost talked myself back out, but I didn't.

So as I'm walking into commencement I had no idea how to work my Masters' hood. I figured someone inside would know. I was wrong, but I made two new friends while we all tried to figure it out. We fussed over the hoods and sat ourselves down. Then we got moved. I had decorated my cap (story to come later) and was mildly worried when I walked in that I would be the only one. That was silly, there were decorated caps everywhere.

We settled in for the ceremony. First they did the honorary degrees. I actually think this would be the best way to get a doctorate because you get all the bells and whistles and no classes or papers. However, I am way too impatient for that, so I'll just bust through school to get one. Apparently my two new friends came from the same line of thinking I did because we all noticed that the doctoral candidates had different hats. Some had the flat mortarboard and some had the nifty poofy hats.

The speaker did her thing and was truly inspiring. She talked a lot about being a community and having empathy towards others. These are things I truly agree with, so I knew I had made the right decision to go. She also talked a lot about football, being that she grew up in Texas, and I knew I'd made the right decision!

After that the doctoral candidates were recognized and I tried my darnedest to figure out the hat thing, but every time I would catch a name and find it in the program it would be the same degree with different hats. The night ended with me having no idea why they were different, but knowing that I had to figure it out because I would be VERY upset if I made it through a PhD. program only to end up with a flat hat again.

At the end of the ceremony we sang the OU chant, yes the chant is a song and the fight song is more of a chant, oh well. They gave us all glow sticks and turned the lights down. After that instead of throwing their caps people threw their glow sticks. I got pegged with at least two and they hurt! They also shot off streamers, which weren't as cool as fireworks, but I guess they were okay.

This is the only picture I got of commencement.

Then came the College of Arts and Sciences Convocation Saturday morning. This is the one where my name is read and I get to walk across the stage. The morning started off not so great as I hadn't slept the night before because my dog was sick and wouldn't calm down enough to go to sleep. After I kicked her out so I could get some sleep (yes I felt horrible) I got up to her still feeling bad. Needless to say I was pretty much ready for the ceremony to be over so that I could get home to check on her. (For those concerned she was fine when I got home and is as good as new today)

So for my graduation ensemble I chose a new black dress and pearls with hot pink peep toe high heels (shoes are very important). When I say I "chose" an LBD and pearls I mean that Brittany pretty much informed me that I would be wearing it, which she was spot on right about and it was the perfect choice. The heels (4 inches) were a bit of fun. I had to walk down the ramp at LNC, I was praying the whole time that I wouldn't fall. After that I was ushered into the A-L room for my major (Human Relations) and given the card to fill out with my information on it. I had managed to get all my flair on before walking down.

My flair included:
  • Graduation gown, complete with wings - I totally freaked out when I pulled it out of the bag Tuesday, but everyone explained that's how it was supposed to be, I still think it looks dumb, but was a nice place to stash my phone while I walked across stage
  • Masters hood - while there was no one to help with the hoods on Friday, Saturday morning one of the HR professors came by and checked all hoods to make sure they were right...thank goodness!
  • Chickasaw honor stole - I went back and forth on wearing this, but ended up doing it, even though it had feathers, I figured they paid for my Masters they should get some credit, plus it made me stand out a bit more, though there were at least three others, including a guy getting his MHR
  • Phi Kappa Phi honor cords - I worked my tail off to keep a perfect 4.0 GPA through grad school and was extremely excited to be nominated for PKP, which honors the top 10% of graduating Masters students
  • PKP pin - see above
  • Golden Key pin - okay I just did this one to have more stuff for the resume and more flair
  • Human Relations pin - I knew other MHRs in the past had gotten pins and I was happy when they went through and handed them out before the ceremony (I like my flair)
Okay so I was decked out. Surprisingly for all the people that were graduating I really didn't know that many, so I made more friends. I am very introverted, but in certain situations (graduation apparently being one of them) I make friends very easily. I met a guy who was a Marine who had done his whole program overseas, mainly in Japan (yet another thing I love about the HR department) and a guy who was in the Air Force (he was VERY tall). Also, I must admit, when I walked in and got lined up and knew I had another hour of waiting, I took off the good ol' 4 inch heels. Hey it worked, don't judge.

A little while later my friend Kelsey came in. She was a student athlete at OU (track and field) and had gone to the student athlete reception the day before. She had the prettiest ring that was clearly OU inspired and I asked where she got it. She said it was her gift from the athletic department for graduating. I immediately decided that I have four years of eligibility left and I need to find a sport! Okay I am totally kidding, but the ring was really pretty!

We lined up and headed in (I got my shoes back on just in time!). We walked to our assigned area and sat down. I must remind you that when you are in LNC the smart phones (or mine) aren't very smart, so getting text messages were few and far between. Eventually I had three come through from Chris and Jason asking where I was. I FINALLY got one back to Chris saying to look for my hat and described it (the specifics will be in another post all to themselves :)). I learned today that Chris was being ornery to Jason (big shocker) and kept saying things like "oh there she is, she's in a black robe and has something hanging from her hat" Jason would look and then realize that EVERYONE had on black robes with stuff hanging from their hats. Then when they asked the graduates to please rise Chris said "oh she's standing up" and Jason looked and realized that everyone was standing up. Apparently everyone around them was laughing. I certainly did when I heard the story!

Okay so next Dean Bell gives a little talk. Then the chosen student (always an undergrad) gave her speech and it was time for us to walk. My favorite part about Dean Bell is something he says every year:

If you read above the closed captioning says "other demonstrations of support and affection are strongly" the whole thing is this:
Noisy outbursts and other demonstrations of support and affection are strongly encouraged.
As you will read later in my post about my cap this was not the case when I was in high school and it made me a little bit angry (as did most things at my high school).

So I watch as many friends come by who were also getting their Masters. The guy next to me was checking out everyone's shoes (I told you shoes were important!). Kelsey and I were chatting. Chris said he and Jason figured they would look for someone playing on facebook during the thing (who me?) but because of the lack of cell service I resorted to talking, so they weren't surprised when they finally located me and I was talking to the person to my left and then the person to my right and back and forth...always the social butterfly.

We finally got to get up and head for the front. They took our pictures and then the lovely gay guy had us move our tassels to the back for the photo of us shaking hands to get our diploma cover (he was quite fun). I got my cover, shook a lot of hands, said a lot of thank yous and walked back to my (new) seat. Waiting to go up and walk wasn't so bad, but waiting for the thing to be over was awful. Needless to say we were counting down the departments left and everyone cheered for the last person to walk. After that it was the fun madness of trying to get out, with feet that were killing me, so I took off the shoes and peeled the robe as soon as possible (those things are hot!).

Overall it wasn't too bad, fun stories that I will remember, just like the last two. I'm very appreciative to those that came to support me in person and those that were with me in spirit and those that liked my check in on facebook or made comments. All of you have helped me get to where I am today and for that I am extremely thankful.

My friends from Friday night figured out the doctoral hats! One came over and told me that you just pay more for the poofy ones. I can so do that! Next stop: PhD!

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