Monday, May 03, 2010

The First Day of the Rest Of Your Life

I graduated on Friday. And again on Saturday. The Friday ceremony was the School of Information ceremony. A more personal one with our individual names being read as we walk across the stage and our families cheer and try to embarrass their graduating children with louder whistles or cat-calls (thankfully no air horns). The whole affair was fun. My grandparents were there, as were my parents. There was a reception after with good food, and a chance to meet the parents of all of the people I went to school with (many "ah-ha!" moments as I could see the evolution of my friends' habits reflected in their parents). It was odd, though, still having the same sensation that graduating from Columbia had.

When I graduated from Columbia there was definitely a sense of celebration, but it was muted with the knowledge that really all that was happening was I was packing up, moving home, and prepping to start school again in the fall at the University of Michigan. Everyone else had this sort of shell-shocked, yet excited sense of being done, but I was just bracing to start the whole process over again. That was how the first of two ceremonies felt.

Saturday was the University-wide graduation at the big house. As you know, it was also the one that Obama spoke at. His whole speech you can watch online.

They had him set about on the 50 Yard Line, and I was out on about the south-side 10 yard line in front of the band. They were saying the audience was upwards of 80,000+ Only the section behind the main stage was empty, and the giant Michigan block-M was visible. It was a pretty mighty sight.

That commencement for me came with a surprisingly bittersweet revelation that this was it. That after essentially my entire life in school that I was finally done with sitting in lectures, staying up late writing massive assignments that I should've factored more time to do, and formal learning. Considering how long I've been looking forward to it, it rather left me with a slightly scared, but more sentimental realization that I'm going to miss it.

I've been planning to sit down and write a reflection of my school career from the end. I might write it soon. More than likely it'll slip by in the wake of everything that's coming up and I'll never do it. Either way, I've been writing it in my head for a while, and the one thought that always comes to mind when I sit down to think about it was that, for me, the most memories of school don't ever come from the times that I'm sitting in class learning, but instead from the times that I was between classes with friends, learning about life. The late nights at the bars. The group projects and learning to give and take. The skipping of classes to go do other things. The memory of school for me will always be the moments between classes. The opportunities to meet people that I'd never meet any other way. The collective experience with hundreds of other people. That I'll miss more than anything else, that I'll remember better than any other part. Not the readings. Not the lectures. The friends.

One of the things lost in the wake of being out of school, and at this point still without a real job, is the sudden surplus of free time. The ability to just get lost in not doing a damn thing. To fight this I'm giving myself an ambitious to-do list to attempt to do each day, in the hopes that I can set a level of productivity to carry me, instead of just getting swallowed in the summer slacking. First and foremost on it is getting a job, but a strong second is editing the novel. I'll be splitting my focus on this blog on both the job prospects and issues facing a library grad, as well as the process of writing, editing, and hopefully publishing. Should be amusing.

2 comments:

Bryan Koch May 6, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

Congrats Nathan! Well done sir, well done. I never knew you had a blog until I saw that you posted a review about Iron Man 2. I enjoyed, not only the review, but your writing style. It's fun to read and I'll probably be reading more of it! Good luck on the job hunt and see you soon!

Bryan

Bryan Koch May 6, 2010 at 9:17 PM  

Congrats Nathan! Well done sir, well done. I never knew you had a blog until I saw that you posted a review about Iron Man 2. I enjoyed, not only the review, but your writing style. It's fun to read and I'll probably be reading more of it! Good luck on the job hunt and see you soon!

Bryan