My graduation was a really special day that I was fortunate enough to share with my friends and family. After a morning jog through my neighbourhood, a haircut and last minute wardrobe changes, I found myself in front of a mirror adjusting my cap and gown. Actually, I found myself in front of a mirror having a minor panic attack, because I was late, had tripped down the stairs and was struggling to attach the hood to my gown. Luckily, two friendly grads — who I had never met before — came to my rescue, and after introducing themselves with their procession numbers, made sure that I looked presentable. (Thanks, guys!)
When I found my spot in the procession line-up, I was surprised with how many people I knew, who I hadn’t realized were graduating. Having delayed my graduation date with co-op and exchange, I hadn’t expected to see so many familiar, friendly faces. I had some good friends who had taken a similar prolonged undergraduate route, but it was really cool to see so many friends all in one place, celebrating the same achievement.
I also really underestimated how cool it would be to walk into the Chan Centre. I could hardly contain my smile as I walked past so many students and parents, and searched for my own. As graduate #57, I had prime seating in the second row and didn’t have to wait too long for my turn to cross the stage. But, hearing my name called, walking across the stage and shaking several hands are all somewhat of a blur! As I focused on not tripping on the stairs or on the stage, I was still able to appreciate the excitement in the moment.
After the ceremony, I took photos with my friends and family, and then went for dinner at a fancy French restaurant. I was really lucky to have my ceremony on a day where the weather cooperated, as it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day. My brother, who is a dedicated student athlete and engineering student at UVic, came over from the island, skipping a workout and a lab to attend my ceremony. My parents, who both live in Vancouver, also took the day off work to be a part of the celebration. One of my best friends showed up after the ceremony with flowers; all of these things, in addition to the many phone calls and messages contributed to my graduation day feeling really special.
With my dad as a UBC alumnus, I am continuing a family tradition, as the second generation of UBC graduates in our family. On my mom’s side, I am the first one in our family to graduate from any university, which is also pretty special. All of the love and support that I had on graduation day — not to mention throughout the course of completing my degree — made me feel really proud of my accomplishments. As somewhat of a perfectionist, occasionally I’ve been less than satisfied with certain grades during my time at UBC. But on graduation day, the grades, the time spent in the library, all of the little things that I like to stress over, don’t matter — I made it, I have a degree! Plus, in the course of completing my studies from an excellent university, I had so many incredible experiences along the way!