Graduation remembered

As a way of commemorating the fact I graduated from Carleton University on this date in 2009, I have decided to re-post an essay I wrote on the plane back to Saskatchewan from Pearson International. I actually wrote this on June 12, 2009, but it came into existence after the rush of emotions I felt at graduating and potentially seeing some of the friends I made in J-School for the last time that day.

So, without further ado, I present my treatise, which I affectionately called “There are no words.” [N.B. It is unedited. There are mistakes, but I don’t care.]

There are no words

So it’s official. I’m a university graduate. Hooray.

I think.

We may all recall how I’ve felt about being done school and entering the workforce right out of school. And how that scared me. And leaving home right out of school. How it was so much so fast. I was leaving behind everything I ever knew, and everyone I know, to follow a dream I apparently have.

Well the past few days have been bittersweet and just about a complete whirlwind. I was so eager to leave Meadow Lake to go back to Ottawa to get that piece of paper to validate the hours upon hours I put into school, and to get something tangible out of the several thousands of dollars that were paid to send me there. And it was nice to see everyone again, or at least the ones who came. Which was most of us.

But what hasn’t been nice is how I have actually been crying off and on since last night.

We had a graduation after party after grad on Wednesday. It was nice. It was. But as the night dragged on, it slowly dawned on me, and on others as well I would suppose, that for many of the people there it would be the last time we will see each other for a long time, if not forever.

I didn’t quite start really thinking about how true and real it is until I was over at Brandy’s yesterday. She was reading through the grad programme, and I was talking about how the party was bittersweet. She asked why, and I couldn’t even finish the statement about the last time seeing people for a long time in one breath. As I was saying it, that’s when it sunk in. It’s one thing to think such a thing in your head; it’s completely different to say it out loud, especially to someone who wasn’t there.

There is nothing wrong with crying. I know there isn’t. I’d honestly rather not be crying. But I will. It’s just now so real. When I left Ottawa after exams, it had been a while since I had seen most of the class, and I knew I would see them at grad. Now that grad’s over and we’re truly going our separate ways, it’s a lot harder to take it seems.

I’ll be honest. I’m not good friends with most of the class. It’s a fact of life. But that doesn’t at all detract from the fact we went through it all together. Most of us who walked across that stage Wednesday morning likely were in Theatre B in Southam Hall that first J1000 class way back in September 2005. We had some people join us for whatever reason. But the vast majority of us we young and new on the scene, not completely sure what the next four years would hold.

And now, four years later, we’re entering the real world, separate for the most part, not knowing what the future holds.

Some of us have jobs, have plans, have an idea. Others don’t yet. And that’s ok. Times will change and we’ll all end up doing something we love. Or at least that’s the hope.

For me, northwestern Saskatchewan is where I am. It’s a huge cultural shift. I still wish I had the confidence in me that everyone has.

I have been told many things lately. Been given many words of encouragement. I still think (well, it was only Wednesday) of what Kristy Kirkup told me. She just about took my by the shoulders and told me that she’s admires what I’ve done, that it’s a courageous thing to do, and that I’ll be fine. I couldn’t even say that I wished I had her confidence before I had to hug her.

All the kind words mean so much to me. You all have no idea. It means so much, so very, very much, that everyone has confidence in me.

I’m thinking now of what Danielle Kane told me when I told her about the job. She told me she wants me to be happy and hopes I’ve made the right choice. That meant so much to me. People do care, even if most of the time we have strange ways of showing it.

What Miranda Morningstar wrote when she signed my programme. She wished me all her best for the future. There’s a back-story that explains why that means more to me than the words would convey; it essentially means there are no hard feelings.

Courtney Symons telling me I’m great.

Shirley Hsu telling me I’m a great person.

To Avery Moore, I’m a kind soul.

At this point you can tell I’m reading through the programme to see what people wrote to me.

Wanda O’Brien wants to meet me in a bakery in the future.

For Natalie Zakrzewski, it was an absolute pleasure to share the J-School experience with me.

Max McBride Peterson can’t wait to see me on the other side of the mic.

These are not the only kind words I received. And reading through who signed, I realized I missed getting Laura Thornton to sign. A mistake, I can assure you.

At this point, I am running low on battery, and likely will be told to put this thing away as it is, as I believe we are close to landing.

I am not all cried out. Everyone I mentioned here, everyone I didn’t, you won’t be forgotten. It really hurts to realize I may never see some of you again. I know we only graduated a few short, let’s face it, hours ago. So maybe this is more fresh than had I waited a few days to do this. But I’m bored on a plane and crying as it is, so I thought this would be the best time to pour it all out.

I’m going to miss everyone.

Thanks all for the well wishes. Thank you all for going through J-School with me (except Danielle, she didn’t J-School it). Most of all, thanks for the memories.

And now I’m out of tissue. And my shirt’s wet.

Now, I’m sure some of you are also wondering why I would re-post something like this. Well, it comes down partly to the fact that I am incredibly good at remembering dates of importance to me. And this is right up there. My graduation, and the fact I had a job in Meadow Lake, Sask., made those three days in June 2009 very emotional.

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