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Subject: "So that was a day." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Gryphonadmin
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May-10-15, 04:03 PM (EDT)
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"So that was a day."
 
   Yesterday was Commencement day for the University of Maine Class of 2015. I'm not actually graduating until December owing to the unique way in which the BBC is fundedbecause I have to finish my minor in mechanical engineering tech, but I'm still a member of that graduating class, so I was eligible to attend.

Now, ordinarily, I would probably have blown off something like that. After all, I'm 41. Dressing up in a judge's robe and walking around part of campus for a while, then listening to some speakers talk about the bold future that awaits me, is all a bit silly to me at this point.

On the other hand, part of the reason I did this when I did was to get my degree while my father's parents are still alive and able to see it happen, and my mother is the sort of gets very excited about that kind of thing. So I resigned myself to my fate, ordered the regalia, and showed up at the appointed time and place to participate in the show.

And there was a lot of regalia. Given that I understand the tradition is for academic regalia to accrete, so that you wear all of it that you already had whenever you get your next degree, and so on, then wear the whole boxful every time you attend such a ceremony in a professional capacity thereafter (if you are, e.g., a member of a faculty), I'm going to look like a secondhand rope merchant if I eventually pile on a couple of higher degrees and go into the academic field myself. I had:

- An undergraduate's gown. You've seen these. You wore one yourself if you graduated from college. Or high school, come to that. The University of Maine's are dark blue, and at the undergraduate level they're pretty cheap, since the expectation is that they'll only be worn once. They're like those costume-shop fezzes that are just one piece of felt. They look pretty good from a fairly short distance away, though, so points to the manufacturer for that.

- An undergraduate's cap (mortarboard). Again, you wore one of these yourself at your high school and/or college graduation, at least if you are an American; I don't know how other countries do graduation headgear. A square piece of cardboard clad in the same stuff they make the robe out of, with an elastic contraption to secure it to your head, and a button on top for a tassel. Many of my classmates embellished the tops of their mortarboards with various cheery slogans, such as Class of 2015 4ever!, Let's go Black Bears!, and 47K in debt!!; floral-themed decorations akin to those often found on cakes; and, in one memorable case, a GoPro. I thought about marking mine like a helipad, but decided against it.

- A color-coded mortarboard tassel. Mine is white, the standard color within the UMaine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the various "of letters" degrees (history, English, foreign languages, et al.).

- The satin sash and honor cord for Phi Alpha Theta, the International History Honor Society. The sash is red; ΦΑΘ's honor cord colors are steel-blue and dark red.

- The honor cord for Pi Mu Epsilon, the International Mathematics Honor Society. ΠΜΕ uses a triple cord of dark purple, light purple, and gold. I still have no real idea why I was invited to join this organization, but I shall wear their regalia with pride.

- The honor cord for the Phi Beta Kappa Society, an honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in general. I was only invited to join this one last month, and was more than a little surprised to receive the invitation, but hey, it's Phi Beta Kappa. Φ&Beta:Κ's honor cord is pink and pale blue; perhaps they wish to convey the progressive-for-1776 notion that academic distinction is for girls and boys. :)

I wasn't the only, or the most elaborately, decorated person in the place by far - there were a lot of people sporting the extremely elaborate beauty-pageant-style STUDENT ATHLETE sash, the Honors College kids all had their college's traditional giant gold medal on a white ribbon, and the class officers were suitably done up, plus honor cords of all colors, and of course the higher degrees' regalia is more elaborate still, with hoods and stoles and the doctoral robes' special sleeves and hats, and so forth. I think I may have been wearing more of those cords than any other single student, though. I'm not actually sure that's strictly cricket, but since we received no guidance of any kind from the University about how our regalia should be worn, I figured, what the hell, I'm in all these things, I'm-a wear their stuff.

The ceremony itself was about how you would expect if you've ever been to one or seen one on TV. The setup for it was a little less than totally glamorous, I have to admit: We all gathered in the University's fieldhouse, in the infield of the indoor running track. At a signal from somebody with a megaphone, we all trooped out of the place through the giant inflatable Black Bear head the football team uses when they take the field at home games (ladies and gentlemen YOUR LOS ANGELES LAKERS!!), disappointingly with no confetti cannons or anything.

Fine, and suitably showy, but then it all kind of came down to Earth with a bump, because what's outside that door from the fieldhouse is... the athletic complex parking lot, which we all walked across in a chilly, blustery wind, clutching at our hats and things, with basically no one out there to see us do it other than the Campus Police closing the roads, because everyone who came to see the ceremony was already inside the hockey arena where it was to be held. So we processioned from the fieldhouse to said arena for the benefit of... basically no one. Following which, we walked around to the back of the arena and in through the Zamboni entrance.

Glamorous.

Still, it beat the recessional, which, rather than a stately progression of academic pomp, was more sort of a fire drill accompanied by the UMaine Ceremonial Brass playing The Maine Stein Song over and over again. Which was a little surreal.

During the ceremony itself, I'm afraid I rather missed the details of most of the speakers' remarks, because I was preoccupied with a phenomenon that will be familiar to the larger members of the audience: Cheapass Furniture Anxiety Syndrome, wherein you spend an entire occasion wondering to yourself, Which will happen first: This speech ends, or; This chair collapses? Do I make it through here unscathed, or do I go down in UMaine history as That Guy, 2015? Fortunately, I did, but I think they may have to scrap that particular folding chair. It's done its duty.

Still, we all got through it, and at least one of my grandparents got to see it, so that's that life goal 50% accomplished. (My grandmother's too old and infirm to leave town any more, but Gramp made it down for the show.) And now I have a blue vinyl folder with a sheet of paper in it saying, "Congratulations, graduate! You'll get your diploma in the mail." Ahh, Maine.

A fine day! Zoner even turned up for it. Then we all went out to lunch and the wheels came off.

Did you ever go to swallow a bite of your dinner and it only goes about halfway down? Not so that it blocks your airway, it's below that, but it doesn't make it into your stomach. You know how that really hurts?

Now imagine that it stays that way for five hours, until someone at the Eastern Maine Medical Center emergency department can go in there with an endoscope and poke it the rest of the way down.

So yeah. That was the rest of my day.

Today I have a whiskey-and-cigarettes voice, the sore throat to go with it, several bruises from failed IV attempts, and my abs feel like I've been in a fight (an understandable side effect of retching unproductively all day). And that was graduation.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: So that was a day. TheOtherSean May-10-15 1
  RE: So that was a day. JeanneHedge May-10-15 2
  RE: So that was a day. Star Ranger4 May-10-15 3
     RE: So that was a day. Gryphonadmin May-10-15 4
         RE: So that was a day. TheOtherSean May-10-15 5
         RE: So that was a day. trigger May-15-15 11
             RE: So that was a day. Gryphonadmin May-15-15 12
  RE: So that was a day. Phantom May-11-15 6
  RE: So that was a day. TsukaiStarburst May-12-15 7
  RE: So that was a day. BobSchroeck May-12-15 8
  RE: So that was a day. MoonEyes May-12-15 9
  RE: So that was a day. clg May-14-15 10

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TheOtherSean
Member since Jul-7-08
236 posts
May-10-15, 05:37 PM (EDT)
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1. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   I'm glad to hear you're on track for graduation and survived the post-commencement lunch. I know you've had a few false starts on the academic front, and a few health issues, that have delayed you from your goal. So, congratulations!

Personally, I skipped commencement. All of my relatives and most of my friends who'd said they wanted to attend ended up having already scheduled something else that weekend, long ahead of time: a cruise, a trip to Arizona, out-of-town conventions, and a dive trip. So I decided to go with the flow and take a vacation, too. I'd already scheduled the days off from work because I was expecting to be entertaining family for a few days around commencement, and had then scheduled a few days off for a short vacation. Instead I spent 11 days driving about, camping at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, visiting the Black Hills along the way.

It was fun, but I think I'd've preferred the shorter vacation but graduating in front of family and friends. You got to do that before your lunchtime fun at least. Sorry the experience afterwards was no fun. I hope you feel better soon.

--
The Other Sean - Don't accept substitutes!
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?


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JeanneHedge
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May-10-15, 07:51 PM (EDT)
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2. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   Congratulations on your commencement ceremony and honors!

If it helps any, that all sounds quite similar to my graduation from Purdue. Spring commencement at that time was broken into 4 sessions over 2 days, with which session you attended depending on which school you were graduating from. As that led to smaller groups, our ceremonies were held indoors, in the 6K+ seat theater of the Hall of Music rather than the outdoor football stadium.

Good thing too. Our procession was to have had us parading around the Mall in front of the Admin building (where lots and lots of photos are taken), and then into the Hall's lobby through the side doors (the admin building and the hall of music are connected, through the miracle of WPA funding hijinks), and on into the theater. But it rained the morning of my commencement, and so we went from the bowels of the hall of music, through the corridors used by the band and choir programs, to the hall's lobby and into the theater. (no pretty photos for us)

My recessional was "every hand for themselves" too, as we all tried to meet with friends/family (who were in the balconies) and get the %$#@ out of there ASAP. Sorry I don't recall what the orchestra was playing.

I am sorry your celebration dinner was ruined, but you seem to have come out of it ok, and now you have another medical story to go with your Tales of the College Career.

Jeanne


Jeanne Hedge
http://www.jhedge.com
1st Courier of the Heavenly Prophets for Tianxia
"Never give up, never surrender!"



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Star Ranger4
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May-10-15, 09:57 PM (EDT)
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3. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   hoods, actually G. the big part of the regalia for getting your masters is adding a hood, apparently becoming a hood is big for scholars.

and here I always thought becoming a hood involved spending time...

Oh wait.

Depending on the institution, there really ISN'T much difference between the two.

:p ;D


Of COURSE you wernt expecting it!
No One expects the FANNISH INQUISITION!
RCW# 86


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Gryphonadmin
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May-10-15, 10:14 PM (EDT)
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4. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #3
 
   >hoods, actually G. the big part of the regalia for getting your
>masters is adding a hood

I know, I said that.

"... and of course the higher degrees' regalia is more elaborate still, with hoods and stoles and the doctoral robes' special sleeves and hats, and so forth."

Part of yesterday's ceremony, between the speakers and all the bachelor's candidates parading up to shake the University President's hand and not get diplomas, involved the hooding of the successful doctoral candidates. For whatever reason (maybe because there were enough of them that it would have made the main Commencement take too long), the master's candidates had their own separate hooding ceremony on Friday.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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TheOtherSean
Member since Jul-7-08
236 posts
May-10-15, 11:14 PM (EDT)
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5. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #4
 
   >Part of yesterday's ceremony, between the speakers and all the
>bachelor's candidates parading up to shake the University President's
>hand and not get diplomas, involved the hooding of the successful
>doctoral candidates. For whatever reason (maybe because there were
>enough of them that it would have made the main Commencement take too
>long), the master's candidates had their own separate hooding ceremony
>on Friday.
>
>--G.


Given what you've written in UF, I can't help but think of a ceremony for new Big Fire recruits, after they finish their training.

--
The Other Sean - Don't accept substitutes!
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?


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trigger
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May-15-15, 05:57 PM (EDT)
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11. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #4
 
   I think Masters' get a stole. No cool hats or hoods until you've given the dissertation.

t.

Trigger Argee
Manon, Maccadon, Orado, etc.
Denton, never leave home without it.

"This isn't exactly the Olympic Games." - Corwin of Amber


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Gryphonadmin
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May-15-15, 06:06 PM (EDT)
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12. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #11
 
   >I think Masters' get a stole. No cool hats or hoods until you've given
>the dissertation.

It might vary from institution to institution, but they're hooded at the University of Maine. (I believe the master's hood is of a slightly different cut than the doctoral one.) They do still wear a mortarboard, though; only doctors get the tam.

Oddly, though the doctoral candidates were hooded during commencement, the master's degree people had a separate hooding ceremony the day before. They did march at commencement, but weren't mentioned during the ceremony. I can only assume this is because there were a lot more of them than there were doctorates, and if they had been hooded as part of the same proceedings it would've made commencement take five hours. :)

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Phantom
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May-11-15, 10:40 AM (EDT)
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6. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   Gryph,
One day you need to write this ALL down and sell your memoir.
Because as bad as I know it was, it is the type of day that seems more at home in a story than in Real Life.
My wife has several days like that, where it is just sorta unreal.

Congrats on Pre-Graduation! And glad to hear you are OK after that bit of "bad" Food.

Stay safe!
Phantom.

"When you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains,
however improbable, must be the
truth." - Sherlock Holmes


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TsukaiStarburst
Member since Jan-5-15
67 posts
May-12-15, 01:49 AM (EDT)
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7. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   I also add to the combolations, Elizagert.

Got nothin' else to say though, aside from ew, that food thing is awful. Hope it gets better situationally for you.


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BobSchroeck
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May-12-15, 12:21 PM (EDT)
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8. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   Likewise, congratulations and my sympathies on the problems afterwards.

-- Bob
-------------------
My race is pacifist and does not believe in war. We kill only out of personal spite.


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MoonEyes
Member since Jun-29-03
831 posts
May-12-15, 03:08 PM (EDT)
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9. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   >And there was a lot of regalia.

There seem to be, doesn't it? Somewhat like military officers giving each other, and themselves, medals, somewhat.

> - An undergraduate's cap (mortarboard). Again, you wore one of these
>yourself at your high school and/or college graduation, at least if
>you are an American; I don't know how other countries do graduation
>headgear.

I don't think you're all that interested, in reality, but on the VERY off-hand:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_cap

That's the headgear from around here.

>I figured, what the hell, I'm in all these things,
>I'm-a wear their stuff.

Entirely fair a point.

>Still, it beat the recessional, which, rather than a stately
>progression of academic pomp, was more sort of a fire drill
>accompanied by the UMaine Ceremonial Brass playing The Maine Stein
>Song
over and over again. Which was a little surreal.

Sounds almost like something out a movie fever dream...so, yes, surreal.

>A fine day! Zoner even turned up for it. Then we all went out to
>lunch and the wheels came off.

Of course it did. Because, it can't ever be easy, can it? On the whole a pleasant, and fun day. No, something has to backfire in as bad a way as possible.

>Today I have a whiskey-and-cigarettes voice,

Without the whiskey-and-cigarettes to go with it? That's just mean.

...!
Gott's Leetle Feesh in Trousers!


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clg
Member since Sep-20-05
108 posts
May-14-15, 02:57 AM (EDT)
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10. "RE: So that was a day."
In response to message #0
 
   Wow. Salutations, congratulations, felicitations, and commiserations!

- Chad


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