Here we are. We graduated (obviously). Carl with a bachelor's degree in Geology and a minor in Italian and me with a Master's degree in creative writing. I'm glad we have this photo because I feel like someday it might mean something for Remy to see, but to be honest, neither Carl nor I were too pumped (up to graduation) to go about all of graduation pomp and circumstance, if you will. We actually didn't even decide if we were going to walk until the night before. We read a talk by Hugh Nibley (which I will share from later) that convinced us to dress up in these somewhat silly robes and hear our name called as we collected our diplomas. I have a hard time with graduation because it seems totally weird to me that I should be celebrated or congratulated on doing something that I absolutely adored for the past 2 years. Sure, there were times when school was stressful and overwhelming, but really, studying writing and language everyday lit my mind on fire in a way that proved to me that I am more capable than I thought. Education is a privilege to be a part of. There are not many things I love more than getting in a classroom with ten bright people and discussing poets, poetry, language, ideas, philosophy. I feel extremely blessed that I was able to go to 2 more years of school and write a thesis (collection of poems) that mean a lot to me, and get to teach on top of that.

I think graduation can often lead to false ideas that what is happening in school is more worthy than what is happening in the lives of other people, and that is hard for me. Shouldn't we throw my dad an honorary party for working so hard for so many years? Shouldn't my mom don a special outfit and be celebrated for writing on my 'first year of life' calendar every single day when she was a young mom or the years she's spent since taking care of all of us? Shouldn't my sisters and sister-in-law and cousins get a hooray and a room full of applause for being good always? For these reasons, I felt a little silly about walking at graduation. I guess though, these acts and/or sacrifices, often times performed in the quiets of a home are perhaps too sacred to celebrate in a graduation-like festivity and the people involved in them are exalted and revered in ways that may not ever be made public. I still feel a little silly about walking, and I don't plan on blowing these photos up and putting them on a wall to flout a degree or two, but after reading this talk, I understand a bit better what these robes and what this ceremony should stand for.

We don't wear these robes to say that we are smarter or more achieved than anyone else. We wear them because there is an importance and validity to education and dedication to the things of the mind. We wear them because they represent, or should represent a movement away from the slum of the world (morally degrading entertainment, inequality, laziness, etc...) and remind people that there is value in pursuing intangible ideas. We are uplifted by things that seem to offer little monetary value. i.e..I am not tricked into thinking that my degree in art and poetry will get me the big bucks. All this being said, I was proud to walk at graduation because I realized that I do feel strongly about using and challenging our minds. I'm so grateful for the people that have supported me in my endeavors. In particular, my dear parents, who were beaming. If you do have the time, read the talk I linked to, especially if you've also felt sheepish on your graduation day.

Hugh Nibley:

In a forgotten time, before the Spirit was exchanged for the office and inspired leadership for ambitious management, these robes were designed to represent withdrawal from the things of this world--as the temple robes still do. That we may become more fully aware of the real significance of both is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


Chris Spencer said...

I was ready to lay down the "robes of a false priesthood" bit. But I refrained seeing the Nibley quote at the bottom.

Although the pomp and circumstance is silly, graduation is no small thing. Congrats you two!

kathy w. said...

We were a little hesitant to go to our graduation, too. But it helped things feel final and celebratory in a way that I think we really needed.


mlents said...

Congratulations to you both!!! What amazing things you guys are doing, all while being parents...isn't it a great ride?!?!