Archive for December 12th, 2005

One Perfect Day

December 12, 2005

Ok, let me see if I can get all of this straight. We woke up to a cold Texas morning. I felt like a kid on Christmas, staring at the tree, waiting impatiently to open his presents. My family showed up around 10:30 am, as did my friend Jean-Paul, and we all headed towards school.

In college I had been a student leader. One group I was active in, and eventually became president of, was the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Basically ASME is the group that in the professional world writes most of the standards for everything from boilers to cars. In the college environment, we worked to get young engineers active in school, get qualified individuals scholarships, and help with finding jobs after graduation.

Every graduation ASME throws a banquet for its members.

Cynthia, the new president who I sort of mentored, and the other officers surprised me with a graduation present and a citation. It really meant a lot to me. When I first started in engineering, ASME was basically a boys only drinking club. But I managed to change that, bringing in new people, running some others off. I dedicated countless hours to building up the group, and to be recognized for that made it all the more special.

The banquet was nice. It gave the students, faculty and families a chance to talk before graduation. And is was the first time my folks had been on campus. I showed them around the building I pretty much lived in for the past 4 years.

Onwards to the gathering of graduates.

All the graduates met in the main engineering building before the processional. The group photo is most of the mechanical grads. Everyone was grinning from ear to ear, acting goofy and trying not to burst from giddiness.

Now, what do all the cords and stoles mean? I will use this picture of me and my good friend Jonan to try to explain.

The long white stole is for Pi Tau Sigma, the national mechanical engineering honors society, of which I was also president. The smaller white stole around my neck is for Tau Beta Pi, the College of Engineering honors society. The green cord, which you can see better on Jonan, is for taking the fundamentals of engineering exam, which is an 8 hour exam we took this fall. (don’t know if I passed yet, it takes months to get the results) The blue and gold one is for the Golden Key international honors society. There is also a blue and green one for the Alpha Chi honors society, a gold cord for graduating the university with honors, and a blue, orange and white one for graduating engineering Magna Cum Laude.

So, yeah, I was kind of busy in college. But it was worth it. I had the most flair on and it felt great to walk by people and see them staring. One professor told me I put the PhD’s to shame. Heh.

The ceremony itself went pretty quickly. We marched in, sat down, heard a guest speaker, got up and graduated. We were all so excited, and hearing our family and friends scream when our names were called to walk the stage was amazing. Funny though, all I kept thinking was, “just don’t fall on your face!”

It didn’t really hit me until we were marching out of the building. I almost lost my shit. It was a proud moment. And the high lasted all day.

Outside everyone was hugging and laughing, getting pictures together and saying good-bye. Two of my dearest friends, Matt and Jean-Paul, were there. Matt was my mentor, he helped me with the transition from liberal arts to engineering. I made it a point to get pictures with everyone because I wanted to record that moment of joy.

My wife and parents were extremely proud. Anna took most of the pics, and my friends and family held all my stuff and let me run around saying hello and good-bye. Gradually everyone filtered away, some back to the engineering building for a reception, most off to who knows where.

At the graduation reception I received one of the greatest compliments ever. Dr. Peterson, associate chair of engineering, told me and anna that as she was driving in that day she was trying to think of one student who really stood out in her mind, someone who represented the kind of well rounded student they want to put out into the world. And she said that student was me. It choked me up to say the least. Dr. P knows everyone, and for her to say that is a big deal.

The rest of the day is a blur of drinking, seeing friends, and more drinking. I wore my cap all damn day until I crawled into bed and passed out. So many of my friends showed up throughout the day it would take forever to list them all. All I can say is that it means so much to me that they came out to celebrate. We bar and house hopped around for a good 10 hours before I was completely retarded and anna took me home.

Anyhow, the day was perfect. I could not have planned it better. Here is my favorite picture of the day:

I am a lucky monkey.

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