18 May 2010

This is my first post written as a graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland. I had hoped to document my experiences of the week leading up to graduation, but was rather preoccupied with such activities as sleeping and reading books for fun. Shocking, I know.

So, let me start from the beginning or, rather, from my SMP presentation. For those of you who have not read this blog/have forgotten, I spent the past year conducting an independent research project on the social issues surrounding plague in early modern England (1500-1700). This project culminated in a 100-page paper that I presented on Monday, May 3 before the Department of History, my parents, suitemates, and peers. I was incredibly nervous about the presentation, especially considering that I froze up repeatedly during my practice run before my three person SMP group the Thursday before. However, some sort of miracle must have occurred during the following four days because my presentation ended up being kick-ass (in my humble opinion). My powerpoint was awesome, I stayed within the time limit, and I was able to adequately answer the questions posed to me by my reviewer and professors.

Unfortunately, the SMP presentation was only the first hurdle in the week leading up to the end of the semester. Due to a series of rather unfortunate events, I was forced to write a 30 page paper in a little over 24 hours. I have never pushed myself as hard as I did to finish this paper. Indeed, there were several points at which I threw my notes into the air and was forced to walk on the track to avoid a panic attack.  It was horrible and I hope to never have to repeat the experience.

I was able to submit my paper by 11PM on Wednesday night, thus providing me with time to relax and de-stress before my Biology final on Friday night. Thursday night was Midnight Breakfast, a tradition at St. Mary's. 'Midnight' is a bit of a misnomer as the event is actually held from 9pm-12am, but it doesn't really matter since it provides an opportunity to eat breakfast foods (and ones that are normally reserved only for prospective student days) late at night. I went mainly because I got to color and get out of the suite (and spend time with my boyfriend and suitemates. But really, the coloring book was the real selling point :) ).

Friday night's Bio exam went well and marked the completion of my formal academic requirements at St. Mary's. I celebrated by heading home to Laurel with Drew for our 8AM race (me in the 5k and him in the 10k) at Fort Meade. I wasn't expecting to do well as my running training had been (and continues to be) restricted by a hip/knee injury for the past few weeks. However, I somehow managed to not only do well, but place as the Overall Female Champion for the 5k. I am convinced that the only reason I was able to perform so well was due to Drew's conviction that I would do so. His support truly made the difference, and I was so proud to be able to stand at the finish line and cheer him on as he finished his 10k. After the race, we walked around Ellicott City, had an excellent lunch at the Bean Hollow cafe, and visited the Female Patapsco Institute ruins.

The rest of the week was spent working my final shift at the Campus Store and then driving home again on Monday morning to relax. I returned to campus on Thursday night for my suite's alternative Gala. (The Senior Gala offered by SMCM was $75 a person and simply too expensive for the quality offered.) My suitemates and our significant others had dinner at the Captain's Table in Solomon's followed by dessert at Rita's. It was wonderful. Friday was spent lazing around with Drew at the waterfront before the Family Picnic (which my parents attended).

On Saturday, I graduated. Four years of work and a single piece of paper to show for it. To be honest, it was a bit anticlimatic. Still, it was nice to know that my effort had been worth something (I graduated magna cum laude) and I was rewarded by seeing how proud my parents were of me.

So...yup. I am a college graduate. If all goes well, I will graduate next July (2011) with my master's degree.

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