Saturday, December 15, 2007


Yesterday was the first time I attended graduation as a faculty member. Honestly, it's not because I wanted to, but because I HAD to. Although I knew from my own experience that Texas State runs pretty efficient graduation ceremonies, I still dreaded because other graduations I've been to where they go on for two hours, you don't know anyone but one person, and the speeches are boring.

Yesterday changed my mind.

It started in the gym, where the students and faculty gathered pre-ceremony. "Ms. Quackenbush!" the students yelled as they came up to me all excited with hugs and post-graduation plans. One student's company finally started conversations about permanent employment, while at the same time he is interviewing with another company in LA. Another student secured a position as a flight attendant with a major airlines. She wants to travel a few years before settling down to job in PR. Others were just excited school was over. I had to laugh at one student who has yet to learn how to fix a tie. Actually, that was several students, because no one could help him. "They should teach this in class," he mutters.

It was also good to chat with other faculty. With varying schedules, we don't see each other much. We can laugh and joke. Dave Nolan, walking beside me in the processional, tells me, "don't fall" as we are going down the steps, then proceeds to speed up, so I'm almost jogging to keep up!

Our department sits on the front row, facing the students. We are positioned so that the students have to walk past us before they go on stage. If they see me, my students wave, shake hands, give a high five or just hug me. "I'm so proud of you," I whisper. Some of these students I've had since I first started teaching and now they are graduating. Others, I may have just me this semester, but they taught me as much as I've taught them. It's bittersweet to see them all go.

The ceremony is over 75 minutes after starting. Not bad. I'm glad I went. I was very proud to see my students graduate. I wish them all the best for their future.

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