So! It is totally time to get that last post knocked off the top of my blog. Whaddaya want to hear about? RU's graduation? Driving myself to the emergency room? The (possible) end of a six-year relationship? All of which happened, consecutively, over the course of, like, five hours on the same day?
Well, you can forget about the last two, although I'll observe that they do have their similarities: it's been a few days, and neither is exactly resolved, but at least neither is causing me consistent pain. . . and in this world, maybe that's as good as it gets.
So let me talk about RU's graduation instead. Seeing as I have three degrees from the same institution and this is my first tenure-track job, this is only the third school whose graduation I've ever attended (the second being my brother's). I was surprised to learn that faculty at RU aren't really expected to attend graduation, and that many people consider it a chore: my chair, whom I adore, confided that she has to go because it's in her contract, and that she and a couple of senior lecturers are usually the only ones from the department who go--and they read books and grade papers surreptitiously and just try not to make total spectacles of themselves.
Even with that warning, I volunteered to join them. I figured that I should check the scene out, get a bit of my money's worth from my eight hundred dollars of regalia--and because really: compared to all the truly bullshit events that one is more or less expected to go to as a faculty member, graduation is something that actually means something to the bulk of its participants, and that represents what the institution is or should be all about.
And, well, it was a graduation more or less like the others I've been to, although I don't think it's unkind to say that it was a somewhat lower-rent version of what I've seen before: still lots of faculty in pretty robes, although fewer seemed to own their own than at INRU; still a couple of maces and a massive, blindingly gold-toned medallion for the university's president--but these items looked pretty cheap. (The medallion, in particular, looked like something you'd pick up as part of a drugstore Halloween costume.) The couple of recipients of honorary doctorates were reasonably impressive alumni or faculty. The main speakers were our state's senior Senator and an alumnus who's apparently a well-known investigative journalist; they were funny, self-deprecating, uplifting without being sappy--and they spoke for a flat 10 minutes each.
The whole thing was. . . nice. Efficiently run. And since I have a weird interest in the logistics and management of such events, I was continually diverted: oh! the graduates approach the stage from both directions, and two people read out names! And those are the kinds of people who get to sit on the stage! (This species of geekiness may be the vestiges of the years I spent managing the INRU marching band, or evidence of some latent administrative urges. Dunno. But I do really like to know How Things Work.)
Would I go again? Probably. It's not too long and it's not too early in the day, and it's after the close of the semester. And I DO have prettier robes than just about anybody else.
(But. . . you already knew that it was about the clothes, didn't you?)