Eight years ago at this time, I was a recent NYU graduate, having received my B.A. in creative writing on May 12, 2005.
Five years ago at this time, I was a recent Rutgers graduate, having received my M.A. in English (I didn't attend the graduation).
Tonight, I am about 12 hours away from pretending to receive my EdM (Master of Education) in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
It's funny, I always thought nothing would compare to my NYU graduation. It was such a perfect day. The ceremony took place in Washington Square Park, which was covered in purple tulips (NYU's color, violet). It was due to rain but ended up being a beautiful day. (As one of my coworkers said, "It never rains on NYU.") It was most momentous, though, because I worked really hard to get there. I spent seven years as an undergrad, taking time off in the middle and switching schools (I had started at Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts school in PA).
I was proud of myself that day, something I rarely feel or admit. I felt accomplished. I finally had something I felt like everyone else had, something I thought I should have had earned years earlier.
For my M.A., everything felt about right. I worked hard but I felt recognized for it. I had a trip to Ireland around the corner and just didn't see a reason to make time for graduation when I was preparing for that trip and looking for a job.
This time, I don't know if I'll ever have another graduation. I might be done with my education now. I might not. I don't know. But why miss the chance to walk for an advanced degree, especially at a school I'm proud to have attended. It still seems, though, that my NYU graduation will remain the most fondly remembered.
There's a bit of shine off the day due to my unfinished thesis and the fact that while I'll still be class of 2013, it'll be October, not May. I'm a bit angry that this whole situation has tarnished my Teachers College experience. Up until this, I loved everything about my experience there and now I feel like I might never feel the same wearing the sweatshirt again. I'm hoping this is just temporary and once I finish my thesis, I will feel accomplished again and the walk I take tomorrow will feel like it fits.