16 Jun

Last night was graduation for our community college. Ours is not a traditional college ceremony which bothers many members of our faculty. The choice was made to loosen it up with an undertone of a sporting event. I was not part of that decision and realized that even as a faculty member, the graduation is not about me. I had my chance at participating in the ceremony for both my bachelor and master degrees and didn’t attend.  It didn’t have value for me.

Last night watching and listening to the students of all ages and degree path, non traditional or not the ceremony had value. The night was about them and I was happy to be there. I gave hugs to the students I knew well and pats on the shoulders to others I have known briefly. Like the ceremony, they are non-traditional no matter if they are old or young or in a career field that is gender biased. They are all individuals who worked hard for their degrees and to stand out in the field of black robes. Caps were decorated with sparkles, phrases, a pink scarf to honor a mother, or just set at jaunty angles. Shoes were fancy or worn with heels high or low and often colorful, and gowns accented with flowers or colorful jewelry.

Fellow faculty commented that this would be my last graduation, an end to my career. I was reminded of that throughout the evening as the reader board would congratulate the graduates, the president’s honorees and the retiree’s. Seeing your name displayed four times at once on both sides of the auditorium every 4 minutes makes it hard to forget!

I don’t really see it as an end yet. My grades have been submitted but I’m giving an incomplete to one student due to circumstances. I still need to pack my office although one faculty member says she intends to just walk away from hers with the statement,” What are they going to do? Fire you?” I’ve already established that I love books and like my “stuff.” I still have a couple of training videos to polish for the software conversions. I have also promised to develop 2 of our classes for online which will mean the entire degree can be pursued online. I may teach a class or two online. The nice thing about those last projects is they are built on the idea of flex time. Rather than an end, this is a time of transition. That probably makes me non-traditional too.

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