Friday, May 08, 2009

This is kinda supposed to be a big deal!

I've had a good time hanging out with friends this week and each conversation has ended with me saying the same thing, "See you soon."

And the response has been, "It'll be Saturday, right?" To which I respond by rolling my eyes towards whatever direction is supposed to help recollect old memories. Finding nothing, I put out some half-constructed syllables indicating confusion and uncertainty: Uhhh, Behhhh, and Errrr, mostly.

They right, of course. Tomorrow morning is my graduation ceremony. I'll be "hooded" by my trombone professor and smile down into the concert hall pit at all the instructors who helped me along my path. Somewhere in the darkened auditorium will be the other four members of my immediate family, as well as all the other "Conservatory of Music and Dance" members who have wrapped up their degrees.

I've had a terrible time remembering that this ceremony is happening this week and people have been asking me if it's because I'm not REALLY finished with the degree. I won't actually be awarded my fancy piece of paper until later in the year, after I finish off the remaining parts of my degree. It may very well be that this fact creates an anti-climax for schooling, but I think there's a much simpler reason.

I think I've put a low priority on remembering this ceremony because it doesn't involve me actually needing to DO anything. There were deadlines in the previous months: indicate intent to walk by Feb. 7, indicate graduating name by Mar. 12, reserve regalia by April 7th, pickup tickets by May 5, etc. But now that all of those things have been taken care of, there was nothing to do to "prepare" for the actual ceremony. I'll squish together with my friends tomorrow in our fancy gowns, walk from one side to the other, then have a quick reception out front. Easy! I don't have to do anything, or say anything, or prepare anything, or worry about anything.

So I've focused much more of my time thinking about the preparation and logistics for the audition in Florida. For the trip to Charlotte. For the oratorio performance of Elijah that's coming up on Sunday. Is it appropriate to play in a synagogue without a head covering? Can I have bacon that morning for breakfast? Do I have to refold my music so it opens right-to-left?

And somewhere in all the fuss, I forgot to order graduation announcements! I don't actually know what they're for or what they look like, but several of my fellow grads ordered dozens to disperse to their extended family and friends. From the way they described it, they must come with a return envelope for checks, because everyone seemed eager to collect the money that such "announcements" engender.

I guess that means they're sort of like wedding invitations, in that you can sort of inflict it on people. If you receive an invitation, you're obliged to send a gift, whether or not you actually appear at the ceremony itself.

As for my ceremony, most of the people who know me know that I'm graduating. And if they don't, then I'll be bound to mention it over the next year or two, whenever I see them next. Perhaps I should cough and extend my hand after they congratulate me, to collect the tip I'm (somehow) owed. There seems little reason to spend money sending official announcements. One, we're only allowed five tickets in the space-restricted concert hall for guests, so people couldn't have attended, even should they want to. Two, I'd feel obligated to send along a handwritten P.S.: "In lieu of gifts, please send nothing."

I received a car from my parents after I graduated from my undergrad, which was a fantastically nice present. Especially after having lived in Chicago for four years with no car, and moving to a city where I'd need one. Techincally I received the car, not for graduating, but for starting the master's degree, since I did not technically graduate from DePaul until the following November.

My family is coming this evening, and we'll rise early tomorrow, trundle off to campus, have some pizza for lunch, and then head back to our respective to-do lists. The pizza is in honor of the visit from my middle brother, who hasn't visited me here in KC since acquiring an adult's job. The only thing he mentions about Kansas City is how good the pizza from Minsky's is, so it would be cruel to have him ride all the way over here without giving him a taste.

Oh, such sacrifices we make!

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