My last week at UNC Charlotte was surreal. I had finals to take, a thesis to finish and family and friends arriving for graduation. People had been asking me how I felt about graduating, for about two weeks, and I never had a good answer. It just did not seem real. I was so focused on finals and grades that not much else registered, until I realized that people were arriving and Pocky and I needed to start sorting out plans for what we were going to do, where we would go and what we would eat. I think I ate more in that week than I do in a month.
Graduation day was December 15th. Family and friends arrived earlier in the week, and Pocky took a few days off of work — yes you heard me correctly…
One day he and my dad visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame while the ladies went to the mall. I’m not a huge mall person, but that’s typically where I end up when people visit us in Charlotte, or the museums in Uptown. My favorite mall stop on this trip was Sur La Table. Since I planned on having a non-vegan dinner party at the house for at least six people, I needed some things. The ladies in my family started pulling items that I would need — a serving platter, serving and carving set, meat thermometer and everything else you would need to cook meat. And I thought all I needed was a roasting pan…. Most people know I have food issues and cannot eat animal products of any kind, along with a few other things, so up until now we haven’t had the need for these items. You should have seen the look on my face when we actually paid for the roast in the grocery store, ha ha, but I digress. In the end, the dinner was a success. Over the course of a week, we spent days hanging out at some of our favorite restaurants, bars and also at our house. It was the first time that most of my family has seen our home and it was really great to visit with everyone.
As for the actual graduation day, I remember it fairly well. I had to choose which department to walk for, and I chose International Studies. We were lined up for quite a while before the ceremony and had a chance to chit chat about our medals, honor chords, and study abroad sashes, which led to catching up on where we studied abroad, what we have been doing, and what we are going to do next. That was the moment where it dawned on me that this phase in my life was over and I needed to come up with a transitional plan. I have applied to graduate schools for Fall 2013 (July/August), I’ll keep you updated…and my original plan for the spring fell through. In that moment, I realized that I need to look for work.
As we walked into the arena, I was excited and a little numb but then I saw my dad standing at the railing smiling — that was a great moment. There were so many funny moments as we sat listening to a few speeches and intros for other departments. One of the funniest moments was when someone sung our school song and a friend in front of me said, “we have a school song? Did you know we have a school song?” No, I didn’t know and either did anyone else — as we all tried to hum and follow along. It quickly degenerated to giggling. Walking across the stage was a bit of a blur. As I walked back to my seat I spotted Dr. Chernotsky and Dr. Houck, and was later accused by Dr. Whitaker of avoiding looking at the section containing professors, who were apparently trying to get my attention. I tried looking for her and others, but I was focused on looking forward and not tripping.
After the ceremony, I met up with everyone outside for photos. I really look awful in those photos. I don’t actually have three chins, but I’ll post a few anyhow. It was great to spend the day with mom, dad, Pocky and the rest of my family and friends who were there. I love you all! We went to an Italian restaurant where we were pretty loud, had some funny moments and then continued at home.
Everyone was in town for a few more days, some planned, some thanks to cancelled flights, but it was a great visit. And I am grateful to everyone for being here for me.
Pocky and I had two days at home to relax, then off to Indy to visit his family for a late Chanukah.