The Countdown is Over

Graduating makes me very sentimental.  If commencement was the Grammys I would have so many people to thank.  But mostly it comes down to

1. My family.  Some of them cheer more loudly for me than others, but they each made the long trip from Indiana to watch me walk across that stage.  That’s how I know they care.

2. More specifically, my parents.  I’m one of those silly kids who calls her mom every day.  She may not always know what I’m talking about or how it makes me feel, but I usually tell her it all anyways.  And my dad.  Who bravely travels to this loathed city just to tell me he’s proud of me.  I think that’s the definition of good parenting.


3. My SLPeeps.  The girls in my department.  They are the ones, the only ones, who not only KNOW what I’m going through, but can actually feel the pain and pride along the way.  Here’s to the best girls in the whole wide world.


(photo credit to the stranger passing by)

4. To God. I don’t have a picture of Him.  But I do have a picture of what He’s done for me.  I think I’m often insecure about claiming God to the public as I’m a rather timid preacher.  But the reality is that God work in my life is more than religious rituals and ridiculous dress codes.  It peace in the storm and grace to keep going.  And I can’t take credit for that.


5. and finally, you, my readers and askers and prayers and carers.  I, like humans almost everywhere, benefit from the support of people.  So thank you, people, for your support!


And now that the Grammys are over, on the with show.

So. Graduation, for me, took place in 2 separate events. The first was on Tuesday and was a ceremony for all the graduates from the Biobehavioral Science Department at Teachers College.  It took place in an amazing Cathedral with intimate (poor) lighting.  Temple Grandin spoke.  And we walked.  We didn’t get diplomas.  We didn’t get caped.  But we did graduate.




Our gowns had silly sleeves to mark our Masters.  I used mine to hold my.. phone, student ID, lip gloss, camera lens cover, foam apple, and confetti pouch.  Handy.


At the post commencement reception.  I had an awkward encounter with a first year committee member who informed me that there was a Kosher selection of food off to the side.  Otherwise, it was a nice time in a room full of people I love and the strangers they brought with them (our families were invited).  ImageImageImage

Ceremony 2: Was on Wednesday.  On the main Columbia campus, for all of Columbia’s 16 schools, plus their two affiliate schools, Barnard and Teachers College. It was full to say the least.  That said, it was incredibly fun.  Eloquent presidental speakers, the rumbling of feet on bleachers, and the head of each college pleading the president with sassy superlatives to grant us our degrees.  Embarrassingly intelligent, they called us. Always good looking, they said.  Sacrificing everything. Sleep. Nutrition. Time. Indebted. Indebted to our faculty.  But poorly timed pausing left for masses of laughter for we are each much indebted indeed.  There was confetti.  Every college carried a token to represent.  We got stress-ball apples because we are teachers. The comment was made that we should have gotten these when we started.  Some got inflatable globes or hammers.  Some carried fun fans.  Even an inflatable orca made an appearance.  We cheered mid-speech.  We sang and grooved our way to the granting of degrees.


(Photo credits- Allison and her phone)Image

(Poor quality phone selfie. Just keepin it real.)Image


And I was hit by the beautiful ending of it all.  Grad school was as it should be.  The worst and the best.  The hardest and the greatest and the mostest (whatever that means).  But I do know that I’ve never been so crazy, so busy, or so rewarded as I have been in these last two years.  And I know that life changes.  And some of my best days are yet to come. But this day, these days, this time (however I should word it) rank pretty high for me.

Of Note: The content of this blog is about to change (somewhat) dramatically as my identity shifts.  School is, in many ways, especially in grad school 700 miles from home, all consuming.  And now I have time to be consumed with something else.  To figure out how the other half of the world lives.  And where I fit into it all.  Don’t worry.  As the title of this blog implies, I will be taking you along with me through (some of) it.

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Wednesday was my last day of school.  Ever.

This day has been much anticipated and I think it’s only right to honor it with a post.

As far as last days go, it couldn’t have gone any better.  I got my last day at placement (complete with a field-trip), my last study session with my faithful study partners, and my LAST exam.  It is very surreal to take a final, final.  I had a moment.  While filling out the muscle diagram of the ‘voice box.’  Where I realized that I have filled out this exact diagram for very similar tests for the past 5 years and this was the last time someone would grade me on it.  It is the weirdest feeling to have arrived at my last day of school, for it was the purpose of each preceding day since the beginning of time.  And then it was over.  Gelato for dinner.  Throwing my arms in the air to random people in celebration of reaching that moment. I’m no marathon runner, but I took the victory stance when telling others of my joy of finishing.  It is, by far, my favorite weird feeling.

However, the observation was made that we are, perhaps, loosing our identities, as we have never been anything but students.  That said, in many ways, we are finally free to make an identity.  I am no longer a student who hopes to be an SLP.  In no time flat I will be an SLP with hopes of doing something else.  I kinda like that.

So. That was Wednesday.

On Thursday I got my first rental car! (yeah buddy! I picked it up w/ only 402 miles! Don’t worry. I dropped it off with 1,100.  I believe rental cars are meant for adventures.)

So yes.  I got a rental and drove to PA for my roomie’s wedding.  Which was on Saturday.  But I made the trip ‘worth’ it by catching up with long lost friends, like old bible-school roomies and grad school peers.  We sat in coffee shops, took boat rides, and went geocaching.  I tried my very best to be a nature adventurer and we called ourselves “Loise and Claire” but really- I was the white settlers and she was Sacajawea.  We also went garage saleing and  did our fair share of ‘vegging.’  Yup.  It really was the perfect way to start my ‘adult’ life.

Here are some pictures:

I’m in a boat.



An island we stopped at.  The geese were nesting and rather unwelcoming hosts.


I’m in nature!


Look at that ant!


My first geocach.  It had a metrocard from long ago in it!  Image

My host and adventure guide, as well as the only other Mennonite I presently know in grad school, AND my fifth and a half cousin (man, we have so much in common 🙂 ).


My only picture of the wedding.  Which was beautiful.  And we were thankful for the tent as it poured down rain. Image

and finally, a shout out to my mother on Mother’s Day! You are much appreciated!


and to my brother, who also finished his last day of college this week!  Congratulations! I always knew you were a smarty pants. 🙂 (Just look at us!)



More on Counting Down

It’s been a downright thrilling week.  I wrote my last report of grad school.  I cleaned my apartment for (perhaps) the first time all semester.  I bought a dress for graduation! Bought my tickets to fly to the other side of the world this summer.  Panicked only a little bit about jobs.  FINALLY put up our ‘dinning room decor’ that’s been waiting since Thanksgiving to be hung on our newly painted walls.

And now I’m looking at my last week of school. Ever. There is nothing like being here.  I love it and hate it all at once.  School is such a big part of who I am.  It explains so much of my running commentary.  It serves as an excellent way to avoid undesired events.  And it’s where my friends are. So. I’m a bit nostalgic about finishing.  I have 2 more days of placement. 1 job fair. And 1 last final. And then…. ? and then it’s summer.

And I can see my summer now.  As with much of my life, it’s cyclical with insanity, ranging from days with only “find a job!” on my plate to traveling and hosting and traveling some more.  And really, that’s just the way I want it to be.  But sometimes I wonder how the reality will compare to my idea I have now.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

As I have observed, things rarely are as they appear.  Here, even tar spots on sidewalks make art in SoHo.