Pomp and Pandemic Circumstances

Welp, I finally did it. I finally had the opportunity to participate in a graduation ceremony. To walk across that stage and receive my diploma. To wear a sweaty cap and gown.

And the graduation was canceled because of COVID-19.

You’ve probably heard a lot about the high school seniors, and participated in some celebration for them. Completing high school and getting to celebrate that milestone deserves celebration. College graduates are considered, but they’re considered a little less. And graduate school graduates? I haven’t seen much.

My school, The Citadel, held a virtual commencement ceremony in place of the actual ceremony on May 9th. Graduates (cadets, evening undergraduate, and graduate) were asked to submit a photo, a quote or message, and a video. All optional.

Here’s my page.

The quote? Well, I think that’s obvious. I want to see changes in things and the only way I can do that is by actually doing something. I’m a doer. I’ve said this before. It’s why I volunteer for the American Cancer Society, it’s why I coach a wellness group with some good friends of mine, and it’s why I want to become a BCBA.

Of course, my posts can’t be all serious, right? I have to add a little silly. That picture? There’s a story behind it. First of all, I hate it. I received an email from the university shortly after they canceled graduation asking for a photo in professional clothes. I ignored it for about a week, thought about it, ignored it some more. I mean, what was I supposed to do while in self-isolation? Schedule a sitting with a photographer to take a nice picture because I legit have NONE?! I did reach out to a few photographers mentioned on our neighborhood Facebook page as ones who were doing senior photos. Since I’m not one of the “cool kids,” I got no responses (I say this because other people got their pics, but no one replied to me – oh well). So I ignored the email some more (and the subsequent reminder emails). and briefly mentioned to Brad that I might have him take a picture and Photoshop it to look professional.

This brings us to April 23rd, the DAY the picture was due.

I got a little hissy early in the day. All up in my feelings because my graduation was canceled and how dare they ask us for a professional picture during a damn pandemic?! (Seriously though…) So at about 8pm that evening, right after I finished exercising, I whipped out my nice camera and said, “OK, Brad. We gotta do this.” I was sweaty and gross in my workout clothes. I was trying to stick the camera on the tripod and find the perfect space. Then I let my stinky, sweaty hair down and straightened just the front on both sides (the back looked like a bird’s nest, I kid you not). I changed my shirt from my workout shirt to a dressier shirt. I didn’t even put on makeup. I stood in front of my bedroom door and Brad took a few pictures. From the shoulders up, obviously, because workout shorts. So I took the pictures to the computer and had to chuck like half of them because of blurriness and all my chins. I couldn’t do enough Photoshop magic to fix that crap.

So I pulled a Hail Mary. I reached out to a cover designer friend of mine who is an amazing photographer and graphic designer (just not local to me). She made it look like I was standing in front of a white wall, instead of a white-paneled door (sigh). She also fixed my face so it didn’t look like I was glowing (from sweat).

I still hate the picture of me, but I love that (as usual) I have a ridiculous story to go with it. That will help make this achievement in my life more memorable, for sure. A story I can tell my grandchildren some day.

Or maybe not…

2 thoughts on “Pomp and Pandemic Circumstances

  1. You know what, I like it and did not even realize until I read this that you did not have on makeup – natural beauty! And way back when we last had dinner, I was kicking myself once again that I did not do my grad school graduation ceremony because I was pregnant (and not in a good marriage), something I regret to this day. BUT we both have masters degrees! And the next time we are together, you need to bring your cap and gown and we will celebrate and you can toss your hat into the air! And we will cheer! I am proud of your accomplishment! I know how hard you worked for it and the obstacles you faced,


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