For those folks who really know me well, you know that I generally avoid all celebrations (when I can). If there was to be an award given for me – it would be “Brian is the best at ditching his own birthday party.” I just really don’t like the whole concept. However, I realize (and value) that some such celebrations are very important for others.
Last night, we had a celebratory final dinner for my Masters co-hort. I debated going (up till the final moments). I ended up going. During the celebrations, one of our faculty members, Nancy Chism, got up and spoke. She shared the story of her graduating from her Ph.D. program. At the time she was busy raising three children. She said she felt like her degree was all about “writing a paper, changing a diaper, then doing it all over again.” She said she felt like she was just living “from paper to paper” throughout the whole experience. I realized how much I related to this!
She shared with us that she had decided not to go to her graduation. Then her mother in law called and threatened to come to the ceremony and cheer for someone else! Dr. Chism decided to go to her graduation. While there in the stands, she had a reflective moment and realized “wow, I’ve really accomplished something here.”
Her words from that point were quite clear and screamed in my ears: “sometime during your experience at the graduation ceremony, pause and think to yourself ‘wow, I’ve really done something great!'”
I’ve been (clearly) thinking about this since last night. Had you asked me even two months ago I was not really interested in going to my graduation. I didn’t go to my undergrad graduation. I didn’t go when I got my other Masters degree. Why start now?
Encouraged by the words of Dr. Chism, I am not only attending tonight — but, I will find a moment to have that reflective thought.
I’m also really excited that tonight most of the RA’s I supervise have devised a plan to attend the ceremony. I anticipate there will be some screaming and yelling as I cross the stage.
Stay tuned for another post about some more of what Dr. Chism shared with us.