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Pomp and Circumstances

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been for the last two days, I’ve been cramming in as many ceremonies in forty eight hours as is humanly possible.

On Thursday, I went to the hooding ceremony for my medical school classmates. It’s the pre-graduation ceremony where the graduates receive the hood that goes over their black velvet-striped gown. During the regular graduation, all of the other health care graduates are there too. That took place Friday. I didn’t want to watch over 700 people graduate, I just wanted to see the hundred or so that I know personally, finish the marathon of medical school. So I went to the hooding ceremony.

It was a wonderful ceremony and I was overflowing with happiness. I have a rare, first-hand knowledge of just how much it costs to make it through medical school. Not only financially, but also emotionally, physically and mentally. And let me tell you, the financial costs are definitely the cheapest of those four expenses. Student doctors work their fingers to the bone and they get little to no respect. So I was filled with an honest joy for my friends who have conquered this mountain.

Did you feel a ‘But’ coming? There were a few brief minutes during the ceremony, when I saw the friend who would have stood next to me. As he approached the podium, I held my breath. They called his name and then the next guy stepped up. I wanted to tap the stranger in front of me on the shoulder and say, “I would have been next. That would have been me.” I held my breath a little bit longer and then the moment passed. My friend Katherine stepped up and once again I was cheering wildly, while the people around me looked over curiously. I don’t think they understood that I really did know everyone going across the stage. I started saying their names aloud before the announcer called them, just to prove to the people around me that I wasn’t just screaming for everyone. Am I a dork, or what?

I spent most of the day Thursday celebrating with my friends. When I went to pick up Bri from daycare afterwards, the ladies commented that I looked really, really good. I told them that I knew I’d better look dang sexy for that ceremony or else everyone would feel sorry for me. I think I achieved my goal.

The next day, Friday, was my awards day for my students. I dressed up in a long black formal gown and gave out awards all day. My kids were eating out of the palm of my hand. Not literally. I knew that I was doing well, when after lunch almost all of my students came back EARLY. My strategy, was to keep the suspense going throughout the period. So I had students volunteer to sing popular commercial jingles. I would call out the nominees and ask for a drumroll. Then just as I pulled the name out of the envelope, I would say “The winner will be announced right after this commercial break!” And I would point to a student, who would jump up to sing the free credit report dot com song. Or the five dollar footlong song. It was hilarious! They loved it!

After a long day of hosting my award ceremony, over and over for each class, I came home, changed clothes, and took the family all the way across town for the band banquet. There I watched my flagline girls celebrate the end of the year. My senior girls gave shout outs to the rest of the class of ’08 and they thanked their parents for everything. It was so sweet. I felt inspired to work harder with them next year. The evening ended and we came home exhausted.

So, if you’ve wondered what happened to me over the past few days, the answer is that I’ve been celebrating the end of the year with lots of the people that I love. And as much fun as it was to see a hundred of my peers graduate from medical school on Thursday, I have to say, it was much more meaningful to give away the 75 awards that I bought from the Dollar Tree for my kids. And the eighty dollar cocktail reception for the medical school graduates was wonderful, but I really felt at home eating macaroni and cheese at the fourteen dollar band banquet.

The truth is that I was a little nervous when I went to the medical school ceremony. Because, although I love my job as a teacher, I was worried that I would regret my decision. But even as I was holding my breath, I still had no regrets. And when I laid down to sleep that night, I was looking forward to going to the high school in the morning. It’s where I know I belong. It’s where I’m happy.

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2 Responses

  1. You have certainly been busy. It is good that you had no regrets:) The ceremony you did for your students sounded really fun. I bet they will remember for years to come!

  2. It makes me tired just to read it all again!

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