My Daughter, the Graduate
Graduating college closes the door on a significant chapter of the student’s life. But it is a milestone for the parents, too. They look at the graduate with fresh eyes. No longer a dependent, the graduate is about to enter the workforce, making all the decisions for their lives with parents now acting merely as consultants.
The four years between high school and college seemed long with the lengthy gaps between seeing Kate but they also feel like they’re gone in a flash.
This last part of the odyssey was a three day extravaganza. The Elliott School for International Affairs hosted its graduation ceremony on Friday while all of George Washington University had a final ceremony on the Mall this morning. We filled the gymnasium on Friday, arriving about 9:45 for an 11 a.m. ceremony. The actual event lasted just under 2.5 hours and was filled with many fine speeches but also every single undergrad and graduate student crossed the stage, shook hands and received a medal, denoting their graduation. There was an Honors Program reception that afternoon as well where we got to finally meet some of her teachers including the revered Professor Van.
Saturday night was a fancy dance at Union Station. Prior to that, we loaded all of Kate’s belongings into the minivan, keeping them safe with us until she finds an apartment in Maryland. As we headed back to the hotel, we received a text indicating she finally received her very last grade, the one for her senior thesis, and it was, of course, an A. She completed college with a very respectable 3.65 GPA.
The Sunday event was huge and sprawling. We were up at the crack of dawn to pack, check out, drive into town, park in the limited free parental parking and then grabbed the very first shuttle bus at 7:30 to go to the Mall. We wound up with wonderful seats in the seventh row of the center section and Deb happily set up her tripod. The skies threatened but the rain really didn’t start falling until about two-thirds of the way through. (Geek moment: three notes into the fanfare for the final set of dignitaries to file in, we quickly recognized it as the Medal Scene from the end of Star Wars — very appropriate.)
Afterwards, we found our newly graduated daughter, took some pictures, had lunch and hit the highway for the miserable 7.5 hour drive home.
We congratulate oursevles on putting her through college without going into debt. We congratulate our daughter for the hard work — a habit that started from birth we think — which has paid handsome dividends as she graduated magna cum laude. She has a job and is making plans for her life.
Our pride is measureless watching her all weekend. Fortunately, she also knows she’s worked hard and has actually stopped to bask in the glory for a moment. In fact, she’ll be home for six weeks to relax, unwind and regain her equalibirum, very necessary as she retools her psyche and body for the rhythms of the working world.
As parents, we could not be any more proud of her.