…and its name is Ottawa U, and if you’re dull and boring, than it’s the place for you. If you’re into concrete, and UGLY buildings too, than welcome to Ottawa U! 2, 3, 4…
The clock was ticking, and we were all lined up. They folded our hoods, and placed them on our arms; with the expectation that we would be able to keep them in place until up on stage and receiving our diplomas. You would think we would be able to do this since we were soon-to-be graduates of Carleton U, and yet that’s just not the case. Good thing there was someone prepared to re-fold back stage.
The day prior to the convocation ceremony my parents and I were a little on edge; definitely my fault. I had left reading the information about the ceremony until the last-minute, and discovered that you have to pick up your robe and hood the day before – if not an hour before the ceremony – I had thought that maybe, just maybe, the robes were sized. As a result my parents rushed home from a half day of work due to my idiotic assumption, and we rushed to pack-up the car. We arrived an hour before the office closed. My father and I entered the gym, and I was given a robe. Dad turned to me and said, “Aren’t you going to try it on and ask for a smaller size?” At which point the volunteer told us it was one size fits all, and my father wasn’t too pleased… of course my mom just laughed.
I tend to over think things when I’m nervous, and graduating was no exception. I was paranoid that I’d have no friends. On the car ride up I found out that my “best friend” Caden wasn’t put into the 9:30am time slot, but put with the afternoon bunch of graduates. I was a little sad, but not completely devastated since I knew my girlfriend Alex would be with me. That morning I forced my parents to be my friends instead of leaving to find a good seat… but it turns out I had nothing to worry about because the one person I knew quickly turned into 4 – then 5 – 6 – 7 – as my friends began to arrive at Carleton and I (#98 in line) became friends with #99, 101, and 103 while waiting to enter the Field House in the order stated on our name cards. The mass amount of friends I had accumulated while at Carleton seemed to last until the very end.
Right before receiving the prop diploma on stage I was feeling a little shaky. My legs began to feel less supportive, and I found it difficult not to laugh – since that’s what I tend to do when I’m nervous – it was comforting to see Alex ahead of me in line, and feeling the same way. I was determined not to fall on my face while walking across the stage after my name had been called – so much so that I had decided to wear flat sandals.
The most awkward moment of my life has to be standing up on stage and hearing my name announced. You stare into the crowd of guests, and don’t really have anywhere to focus on. The people who had gone before me were embraced cheers, and loud noises of excitement from their families and friends who had attended the ceremony. My mom and dad were my biggest, and only fans in the audience. I didn’t know where they were sitting and I couldn’t see them, but I knew that I could rely on my mom to make some noise. As I stood awaiting the applause and cheers… nothing came. I laughed out loud, and made it into a smile.
I spoke with my mom afterwards and asked her what had happened, and she said she screamed so loud – I think i was (a) so stunned that I either didn’t even hear the noise or (b) my mom’s loud voice was lost among the silent sea of strangers. Apparently Tasha has been cheering back stage with the explanation that she had promised me to – and yet I couldn’t hear anyone. The ceremony was extremely organized… to the point where I was unaware of what was going on. We were escorted everywhere, and guided throughout the event without explanation.
In the car back to Toronto I asked my dad mid-thought how much he thought this piece of paper had cost our family. About $45 000! It’s an expensive accomplishment, and one that I’m thankful I was able to complete. I had a mix of emotions, and couldn’t sleep the night before but it was an experience I do not regret. I loved the ceremony, the speeches were beyond inspirational, and most importantly to the point.
Oh and for those of you following my blog… I accepted to do my masters in english literature at Carleton University this upcoming September!
See you soon Carleton!! XO