Friday, August 13, 2010

I did it!!!!

It's official! I graduated from college! It was kind of a surreal experience. I have fantasized about graduation for so long that it had started to feel like just another one of my imaginary situations. And then suddenly today came.

The ceremony itself wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, possibly because I graduated in August rather than April (fewer people to deal with). Ever since Tiffany's graduation 3 years ago, I have been afraid of going to another college convocation. None of us had slept the night before, we had uncomfortable chairs, and it went on for 3 STINKING HOURS. But mine was actually quite enjoyable. And it was only an hour long! My favorite part was Professor Carter's talk. And yes, I think we are related. Having polygamous ancestors that settled Orem and Santaquin makes encounters like these quite common. A lot of my high school friends seriously thought I was related to everyone. And in Payson, that's actually not far off.

Anyway—my favorite part of the talk was when he was talking about the importance of work. He told a story about how he was complaining about getting up early on a Saturday morning just to work, and his mom told him, "It's just the Carter in you." That was when I really knew that we were related. We Carters are famous for spending more time trying to get out of work than we do actually working.

That story was kind of irrelevant. But I just couldn't resist making myself seem more cool by proving that I am related to the convocation speaker. Moving on.

I have always thought that high school graduations were more significant than college graduations. It just seemed anti-climatical to have yet another ceremony celebrating the ascent into adulthood. But my college graduation sure felt more significant than my high school graduation. I am moving on to bigger and better things still, but they are NEW bigger and better things. It's time to put the world of academia behind me and take on new adventures, adventures that I have pretty much no preparation for—and that's what makes them so exciting.

Times of major change can be scary, but they can also be exciting. Big changes give us a chance to reflect on all the good things of the past and to look forward to the good things waiting for us in the future. It makes the present seem much more like a . . . well, a present. It is the best of the best.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting and a lot of looking forward during the past several months, and let me tell you, I like it where I'm at right at this moment.

Things I will miss:
  • Calling BYU home.
  • Commiserating with my fellow students about the harshness of college life. This may seem to be an odd thing to miss, but few people can truly connect with students. They're on their own, most of them are unmarried, and they are truly experiencing life for the first time. Close bonds are formed when you put a bunch of misfits together. No one understands students like students do.
  • Watching the seasons change. BYU is a beautiful place, whether it be summer, spring, winter, or fall. I'll miss studying outside, walking home during blizzards, and enjoying the mountain scenery every time I walk outside.
  • Strolling around in the dark. BYU is awesome at night. No matter how tired (or hungry) I was, the magic of BYU nighttime never ceased to affect me. It was times like that this I truly felt that BYU was where I was supposed to be.
  • Buying books every semester. This is a major insight into my nerdiness, but even during the semester that I spent like $700 on books, I was still giddy with excitement (and the after-effects of a heart attack) at the prospect of all the unread pages I had to lug home.
  • Class discussions. English majors are awesome.
  • Intense discussions at work regarding a usage issue or a word like "travesty." I love being in a group of editing people because we can talk about en dashes and adverbials without anyone calling us freaks (or pompous jerks) and we can just feed off of each other. Everyone needs to be a part of a nerd group.
  • Food Fridays. Our Indiana Jones, England, and Michael Jackson themed lunch hours will not be forgotten any time soon.
  • The excitement and chaos of the end of every semester: hugely long testing center lines, the late nights studying, and the extra hours of watching Disney movies. I always loved finals week—it was the one week of the semester that I got to watch everyone else suffer under their workloads while I floated around mostly burdenless.
  • The people that look at you, then shake their heads, muttering, "College students." Most of us come to college straight out of teenagehood—and suddenly, life is fun again. We can do all sorts of crazy things, have a great time doing it, and the adults and the kids will be jealous of how crazy we are.
Things I look forward to:
  • Working on projects (and having time for them!) that aren't going to be graded by someone who thinks they know what I want better than I do.
  • Stability. Student life is fun and crazy, but sometimes it's really annoying when every decision you make is life-altering.
  • Learning how to sew, cook, and play the guitar.
  • Having more time to exercise and play the piano.
  • Becoming a wife and mother. This is the adventure I am most looking forward to.
  • Seeing where my career path takes me, or if it even takes me anywhere. Honestly, at the moment I could care less if I have a career—there are so many other things I could be doing with my life, and I have never been so free to do them.
  • Going to the temple. This was supposed to happen a week after graduation, but that has been postponed till probably October. (To my credit, the delay is not because of anything I did, but because of an absent-minded bishop.) But I'm actually glad about the delay. I think by Octoberish I will be over the freaked out stage and back to the excited and ready stage that I started out with.
  • Joining a book club.
  • Accomplishing something not for the grade, but for the satisfaction of doing it.
  • Seeing a little bit of the world.
  • Having increased independence.
  • Continuing to become the woman that God sees in me.
It's good to know that I have more to look forward to than I will miss. Life is one long adventure, and it doesn't end when your whole life changes. That is only the beginning.

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