Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've been meaning to write about my official commencement ceremony for sometime but I keep putting it off. I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in December, 2007, but the commencement ceremony was May 1, 2008. Most of my family came up to celebrate with me, and it was so fantastic to have their support.

It was a really crazy week. My graduation was Thursday. Justin left town on business on Sunday and was gone until Wednesday. For some reason or another, the house was just a mess. We tried really hard to get our downstairs bathroom makeover completed on Saturday, but failed. Luckily it was mostly done and useable. But the rest of the house had been neglected and I was left to deal with it alone. I got all ready for company, but I was just stressing by the time they started rolling in on Wednesday. I don't sleep well when Justin is gone, so I was getting cranky. I took off work a bit early on Wednesday and bailed on my extra shift I was supposed to work that night. My parents took Jordan, Afton, Julie, Camden, and me to dinner at Johnny Carino's. Our food came out cold and we had to send it back. They treated the incident well and comped the meals. It was good food and the company was even better.

I took off a couple hours early the next day to get things under control before my I had to be to my graduation at 6:30. I think going home early actually stressed me out more. My sister arrived with her four children, we were trying to figure out when and how to get everyone fed, and there was just a lot of chaos. I finally retreated to my bedroom where my sweet husband laid beside me on the bed and comforted me.

I kept thinking how much I hate graduations and how miserable they are and how I wished I had decided not to walk. Since I did all my classes online through the Moscow Campus, I didn't know anyone graduating with me or any of the faculty at the Idaho Falls Campus. I was stressed about my family and all the chaos. And I was stressed about my mixed feelings about my education. I've always kinda wondered if my education was worth it because I have a fabulous job that I totally love now and I make good money. Incurring all the debt for my degree didn't really improve my work situation. I could get a different job with my degree, but the pay would be the same. Plus I dream of being a stay at home mom someday, so I often wonder if the debt from my student loans was worth it. With everyone congratulating me on this huge achievement, my doubts about the whole process resurfaced.

Justin drove me to the ceremony early. I hadn't ironed my robe and pretended I didn't care that looked sloppy. Luckily there was an iron in the waiting room and I was able to iron my robe and look better put together. There were about 40 graduates (doctorates, masters, and bachelors combined) and I didn't know anyone. I waited alone until the ceremony began. Once Pomp and Circumstance was playing and we walked into the auditorium, I was suddenly overcome by my emotions and a sense of pride and accomplishment.

It was a really good ceremony. It was quite brief--maybe an hour and twenty minutes. The speaker was great. I got a ton of cheers from my family as I shook the President of the University's hand. We had a cookie and punch reception in the lobby afterwards then went back to my house for ice cream and pie.

My family gave me a dozen beautiful yellow roses and Jordan made a plaque for me with my graduation picture and a place to engrave a meaningingful quote. (Side story: Jordan wanted to have the engraving complete when he presented the plaque to me and he called me to ask what my favorite saying was. I heard the word "thing" instead of "saying." So I told him my favorite thing was singing puppies, like that cute flea and tick commercial with the little puppies at camp singing "there ain't to bugs on me." I just love talking/singing puppies. Jordan asked me a couple times and I kept telling him my answer was singing puppies. After a few baffled minutes, we finally figured out the confusion. Thankfully he didn't engrave "Singing Puppies" on the plaque.)

We had a fun night of celebration. Then it was off to work for Justin and me the next morning while everyone else drove to Salt Lake. After work, we headed south too, with Cindy and Afton in our back seat. Saturday, Stephanie's twin sons were baptized, so it was a quick turnaround for all of us.

I am thankful for all my family who came to support me and all the phone calls and cards and well-wishes for those who could not attend. Though it started out really crazy, it has become a meaningful day and a special memory for me. Even though I still debate my education's financial implications, I am proud of my accomplishment and happy that I marched. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.


Hays Family said...

Yeah Lara! Life is stressful and more often special occasions like a graduation. We are sooo proud of you. You are a marvel.

Love, MOM

Hays Family said...

Yeah Lara! I am sooo proud of you. Yes most special occasions are also stressful but when it is all said and done you are usually glad for them. Your graduation was really fun you looked wonderful. Thanks for letting us be there to help celebrate.
Love, MOM


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