My UBC Grad experience began as I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed at 5:30 am (thanks Mom for waking me up after I slept through an impressive three alarms). While still half-asleep yet incredibly excited, I threw back a latte before we set out for UBC. My remarkable ability to sleep through nearly anything had resulted in a late departure… and anyone who knows me, knows that I am devotedly punctual. If I’m not 5 minutes early, I’m late. Accordingly, arriving 15 minutes late to the suggested 7am grad check-in made my blood pressure spike.
Nevertheless, I had ample time to don my gown, pin my hood (thank you Michael and Erin for your help!) and catch up with friends before the ceremony. A note to future grads: the check in time is ridiculously early and at the same time necessary, because pinning your hood is a finicky task that would be super hard to do in a rush or on your own. Once we were gowned up, we were placed into our procession and marched excitedly over to the Chan Centre.
I was lucky enough to be the very first undergrad in the procession! I was told to file into line behind the last MSc. Grad and hand my name card to the reader, then wait for my name to be announced. The reader was going to announce the beginning of the undergrads and then I was to walk across. Apparently the reader decided that I looked intelligent and distinguished enough to be getting a MSc. and began to announce my name… So I did as I was told and I began to walk across the stage (walk #1). I knew something was wrong, but if they were going to give me a MSc. instead I wasn’t about to complain! (Tuum Est right?) The reader got my first name out before realizing her error and promptly called me back across the stage (walk #2, this time in the opposite direction). She corrected her error, passed my name card to the undergrad reader and I did one final (and slightly awkward) walk across (walk #3). The audience laughed. I smiled. And now I have a funny story to tell and I got to show off my sparkly grad shoes during the extra stage time! Win-win.
Being the first to cross the stage meant that I could relax and enjoy the rest of the ceremony with decreasing cortisol levels (did I mention I did my thesis on stress steroids?) This gave me the perfect opportunity to take in the details I had missed before I crossed the stage; including-and-not-limited to the spectacular interior of the Chan Centre, the crazy get-ups our profs were wearing and the smiles on everyone’s faces (except my Grandpa, he was definitely asleep by then). The ceremony ended as the 300+ grads were conferred and we headed off to take about a gazillion pictures (I’ve included a few below).
The rest of the day was spent enjoying time with friends and family. We ate delicious food, took pictures, reminisced about our undergraduate escapades and toasted to the future while sipping champagne. I am so grateful for my family and friends who made the day extraordinary!