June 8th – Graduation!!

So today is the day that I walk with my classmates of the past four years down the aisle in Killian Court and receive our hard-earned bachelors diplomas. We had to get up really early to assemble for our procession into the ceremony area, and I was up late the night before playing Starcraft with my friend Tony haha. Naturally when I got up with only 4 hours of sleep on my graduation day I was cursing myself for making such a dumb decision the night before. The day was a bit of a blur as friends weaved in and out of my day, and I tried to capture as many pictures with as many of them as I could. My family came to the ceremony also, and I think it was as much of a proud day for them as it was for me. I originally thought that I'd get bored during the 4 hour ceremony, 3/4 of which consisted of handing out diplomas to the 2000+ people that graduated that day, but it actually flew by surprisingly quickly. My heart was pounding as my classmates and I lined up row by row to go up to the podium and accept our diplomas, and it was truly exhilarating, despite knowing that I'd be staying next year for a year of grad school. As I write this entry weeks later, I'm already feeling terribly nostalgic, and really missing the presence of all the familiar faces. Sure, it's summer and many students are gone, but the campus suddenly feels empty and lonely. Even though I get to talk to my friends online, I can feel how far away they really are. And the thought didn't hit me until my graduation day, the fact that these amazing people I've met are really and truly leaving here. Some of them may never come back. Many of them I will never hear of or see again in my life. Faced with this truth I feel terribly sad (I am a sentimental soul), and I can only hope that one day I will see many of them again at our class reunions… How far away it all seems!

Well, enough soul-baring. Here are some pictures from my big day (graduation hats look really unflattering on my face for some reason):

Me and MinyoungMe and MikeMe and AliciaEunmee and meAnnie and me

We arrived early to line up our appropriate procession order, so I was mostly with my fellow biology majors and having some great times talking about how excited we were and how we've come so far.

It was a beautiful sunny day for our graduation, and for that I am grateful. Graduation gowns are unfortunately really hot and uncomfortable, so everyone was complaining most of the day from the heat. Here we are walking towards Killian Court, with a few random stops along the way. During the stops my friends and I played a word called called Contact, which is basically a super hard version of 20 Questions. Our procession was quite a sight to behold though, so many people dressed in various colored gowns representing different degree types, and so many bodies all walking in the same direction! Heh I refer to the procession fondly as the "march of the penguins" :)

This is where our ceremony takes place each year. My parents got a picture of it while the seats were all still empty. There are well over 5000 people that come for the ceremony, so many seats!

This is our famous MIT dome from my seat at the graduation ceremony. The white canopy is there the professors sat, and where students went to accept their diplomas from the president. If you look closely between the columns of the buildings near the top, you can see small banners. That was a graduation hack that unfolded during the first speech of the ceremony (a hack being an MIT tradition of elaborate and witty pranks), and the banners read: I'll Have Thesis Finished Pronto. This in itself is cute, but the real meaning lies in the first letters of all the words, which combine to become IHTFP, which is a well-known MIT acronym that stands for "I Hate This F*cking Place" that describes the hate aspect of the love-hate relationship we all have with MIT :)
It kind of sucked that this year our graduation speaker was our previous MIT president! I know a lot of people were upset that we didn't get a speech from someone more famous, who could bring a different perspective. Charles Vest hasn't done anything since he left MIT a few years ago, and even though he's ABOUT to start a new position, he still has nothing new to share with us. Sure, his speech was motivational, as they all are. But I do hope for someone more interesting to learn from next year.

After the ceremony was over and I had taken pictures with my family, it was time for more pictures with classmates! My family was really understanding about my wanting to see as many friends as I could during the reception after the ceremony. They were probably bored out of their minds while I was running around saying my goodbyes and taking pictures, but they told me that today was my day. They were really very sweet about the whole thing.

After the main graduation reception, I also went to a departmental reception where I saw some more of my biology pals. Later in the afternoon, my family and I went out to dinner with Tony, Jacqueline, and Tony's family members. Initially I had decided to go Dolphin Seafood restaurant with my family, and after I told Tony he asked his parents if they would be interested in going also and thus we all ended up having dinner together. I got the broiled bluefish with crumb topping and a mustard sauce on the side. Ever since I got the bluefish last time I went to Dolphin Seafood, I've been craving it. And boy did it hit the spot after a long day of graduation without eating lunch. Bluefish is very tender when fresh, and it has a delicate but meaty chew that is finer than salmon or swordfish. It's a very satisfying fish to eat, and it was just fantastic with the buttery crunchy crumb topping and the flavor from the honey mustard-like sauce.

After dinner when we were saying our goodbyes, Tony's mom came up to me and started shaking my hand and thanking me very sincerely for "being Tony's good friend". Haha we all cracked up because she sounded like a mother whose precious son had no friends at school. But it was good to have dinner with my friends before they left. I will miss them all very much.

I spent the weekend after graduation at home, so we'll get back to the food entries next :) Well, that's it, I've graduated!

3 responses to “June 8th – Graduation!!

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