As you probably know, I’ve been a graduate student in the Applied Economics program at the University of Minnesota the past two years. I entered with a cohort of twelve, representing several different countries. I’ll admit, the road was very long and I can’t say I’m at all sad to put it behind me.
While I have yet to defend my thesis, I was able to walk for commencement last Friday. Bonnie recently graduated with a Master’s in Technology Education from Texas State. At her commencement, most of the girls decorated their caps. Bonnie felt a little left out that she hadn’t thought to decorate her cap, and being the loving sister that she is, she didn’t want me to make the same mistake. So she decorated my cap with glitter, the letter “M” for Minnesota, a “π” representing profit in economic equations and a check symbol, meaning, “grad school, check!” Katrina added some googley eyes and a peace sign.
I have to admit, I was a little embarrassed about wearing the hat. I was planning to just blend into the crowd. I was going to wear my plain-jane black hat for the ceremony and throw on the glitter cap for some fun pictures after.
I arrived at Mariucci Arena, checked in and was about to find my cohort when I saw a girl crying and explaining to one of the coordinators that she had forgotten her hat. Before I even really knew what I was doing, I went up and handed her the black cap.
I went off in search of my cohort. Economists tend to be a rather serious type, and as such they found my cap both perplexing and amusing. They said things like, “wow, you are really brave” and “it’s not that noticeable.”
I was feeling more and more excited and soon forgot about the cap. As I walked out, I spotted my family amongst the huge crowd almost immediately. They were waving and cheering, and soon they began signaling that my cap was on upside down so the “M” looked like a “W” (!) Of 1,000 graduate and Ph.D. students, I was the only one that wore a glitter cap, but at the end of the day, it was the perfect way to march across that stage.
My poor sister had to listen to so many phone calls about how I thought I failed a test or couldn’t finish my thesis, wearing that hat allowed me to honor my family and their support.
It was a great day, and I’m so thankful to have a family that has supported me through nearly 21 years of schooling. They’ve proofread papers and offered words of encouragement time and again. Probably most importantly, they listened to me complain and put up with me when I was cranky and stand-offish.
Now I'm excited to move on with my life. School- you were fun (well sometimes fun), but I won’t miss you. At all. Like not even one tiny bit. (Family, force me to re-read this if I ever decide to go back for a Ph.D.)
Bonnie made a super awesome video montage of the day, check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?