But as the day drew closer I started to feel differently. Whereas in the past I was simply going through the motions of what was expected of me, this degree was a very personal choice. I sacrificed a lot to come back for another round and I had a very specific goal in mind. I worked really hard and accomplished my goals. I felt like I'd really earned something and it felt good to have all of the work and focus pay off!
Suddenly I found that I wanted to go to the ceremony. This was a right of passage. By achieving this goal I have become someone different than I was before. I know what I am capable of and I am proud of my accomplishments. I wanted the ritual that would mark the transition. So, at the last minute I decided to go! And I'm so glad I did. It was a beautiful day. It was not nearly so long or boring as I thought it would be. And there was a wonderful energy in the air as everyone seemed to be feeling as elated as I was.
The best part was when they read out my name and I took my walk across the "stage" (Trent does their convocations outside, so it's not really a stage... more like a quad). I shook the chancellor's hand, smiled for a photo, and continued my crossing. What I did not expect was the reception I got on the far side. In our circuit across the stage and back to our seats all students walk past the gallery where any attending faculty members are seated. When I came across the stage my Profs and the other faculty, who I'd worked closely with for the last three years as a member of the Psyc Dept Committee, were standing in wait to shake my hand and give me a hug. I was almost in tears! It felt so great to be literally received with open arms by the people who have been my mentors and role models. It really meant the world to me.
I'm so glad I went. :)
And as icing on the cake...
Each year someone of note gets an honorary doctorate degree. At my convocation that person was Sarah Polley. People were really excited by this and I just didn't get it. And then I saw her!! In my program it said something about blah blah blah Canadian Actress, blah blah blah Road to Avonlea, blah blah blah Oscar Nominee... But as soon as she walked out I said (in my head) "OMG, it's Ana from Dawn of the Dead!!!!" Being a zombie-genre aficionado I was thrilled. I will never again disparage the inclusion of random public figures at these events. :)
So, that was my convocation experience. I hope that everyone else had the chance to enjoy their moment in the sun too!!
June 3, 2009 - Trent University
(that's me in the middle!)