A Graduation Weekend to Remember

by nomeatbarefeet

This past weekend I graduated with my PhD in Philosophy from SUNY Albany, finishing up 7 years of doctoral work and 9 years (yes, you read that correctly), 9 years of total graduate work. Often not really a labor of love, the dissertation has been my waking existence for longer than I care to remember. I have been in school for about 27 years or so (I think the math is right); It is strange to know that I am no longer a student.

The weekend, though, was incredible. Simply put, my family and friends (and there is very little difference between the two) threw me one hell of a party with more surprise cameos than a season finale of Saturday Night Live.

I will offer you a few highlights from the day, as well as some photos.

  • Preface: The only things I knew were going to happen was that I was going to graduate and that there was going to be a party—I had no idea about the details. I knew that some people were coming and others were not able to make it. I had know clue about any details. Any assumptions I had, however, were quickly dashed on the rocks of surprise…
  • Graduation was at 9am on Saturday. I arrived early and found two of my advisors. Even though I had the regalia on, and even though everyone was all lined up, I don’t think things really sunk in until we all got in line to walk across the stage…
  • It was then that I saw my brother (who wasn’t supposed to be there) acting like a paparazzi photographer (typical Jeremy).
  • I really just wanted the poofy hat.

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  • We drove back to Syracuse for the party, which was at my parents house. It turned out to be one surprise arrival after another: Aunts and Uncles; cousins and nieces; family from all over the country (Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Rochester-Elmira-Gouvenour-Savannah-Syracuse NY); friends from near and far (Albany, Syracuse, Illinois, some I haven’t seen in years)

It was overwhelming. I literally could not string coherent sentences together. I have never felt so much love.

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  • Even more amazing was that everyone pitched in to get me a much needed (and much appreciated) new laptop. The old one has lasted me almost 10 years. It basically held on until my dissertation was done, and I had a running joke with Katie that on graduation day it would simply go up in a poof of smoke.
  • I cannot thank Katie enough; she has been my biggest supporter and I think these last 9 years were as taxing on her as they were on me. Putting this party together with my family was a lot of work, and it kept a constant smile on my face to have her continually tell me that I had no idea what was coming next.

Oh yes, and by the way: Saturday May 19 was Katie and my 6th wedding anniversary. What a special weekend indeed.

Well, there you have it. Yet another chapter in my life is complete; another door opens onto a future that is yet to be written. I am very happy to be done, but until I am able to truly use my degree (in some capacity) I don’t think that I will really feel any different. I can only live today, this moment, and be aware and conscious of what I do with my life, my talents, and my passions. Not knowing where we will go next is exciting, and I hope that all of you will be around to see where the journey takes us.

Live Más. Run Más

-J

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