It's official, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am now the Master of my future. On Sunday I graduated from Marquette University with much fanfare and only a little bit of a stranglehold from my robe's hood.
Unfortunately, Marquette puts a bit too much confidence in a graduate's ability to understand vague directions, and so there was a slight slip up in seating...
It seems that some MBA grads got in line by the "Master's Candidates" flag. This, combined with what generally happens at a commencement - people follow those in front of them blindly and without question - some of us MA candidates followed those MBA folks once they entered the arena and we ended up in their crew. We quickly corrected this mistake by leaving the row and walking up the center aisle in the Bradley Center to where the rest of the MA candidates were filing in. Much to the chagrin of the seating patrol (aka: man in courtly robes glaring at us from underneath a blue and gold squishy hat), this seemed to fix the problem, but when it came time for the President to confer our degrees, I looked back and noticed about 100 empty seats between us and the MBAs...meanwhile, there were graduates from the College of Engineering sitting in the bowl.
Perhaps instead of glaring at us, that gentleman in charge of seating graduates could've directed those folks to the empty seats so that there wouldn't be an embarrassingly large empty space on the arena floor? But what do I know?
Marquette did a splendid job of choosing a commencement speaker. Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach for America, did an excellent job sending us out into the world. Instead of blowing smoke up our behinds and telling us how great we are, she instead told us how incredibly privileged and blessed we are and that we should take all that blessing and give it out to those in need as we make our way. In other words, "Be the Difference," as Marquette's motto states.
I'm really glad I went to the big ceremony; it was much more entertaining than the small, college-level one where I listened to my stomach growl while idly counting piles of degree holders as they dwindled down in proportion to the number of undergraduates who were called across the stage.
That took awhile.
And the auditorium where that ceremony was held was not air conditioned.
Thumbs down to polyester robes.
And they coldly ended the ceremony before we Masters graduates could even make it back to our seats after we had the privilege of walking. Boors.
But all in all it was a fun day. I enjoyed the pomp and circumstance. Perhaps more clarity could have helped all of us to know how to correctly put on our hoods and when we were supposed to switch our tassles over (the directions stated "after YOUR degree is conferred," AND "once ALL degrees are conferred"), but the mess ups only added to the experience.
And nobody really noticed.