Sunday, May 7, 2017

The second time is just as sweet

and perhaps even a bit sweeter........

the day finally arrived.  Graduation Day 2017---

However it almost didn't happen.  Well, that isn't exactly accurate--Graduation Day at Utah State University was going to happen with or without me.  What was in question was whether I would be there or not!

And no, it wasn't because I didn't turn in my last assignment.  I actually turned it in a day before the deadline and that really didn't matter because we were just "walking" not actually graduating.  We still have two classes left for the summer and will officially be done in August.

No, it start with Jena getting sick with a stomach bug on Tuesday morning which lasted for her until Thursday and then started for me on Wednesday night.  I tried to manage work on Thursday because I really was pretending I wasn't getting sick but that lasted about 30 minutes before I headed out the door and home again.  I was running a fever and all of the other stuff all day and was getting very discouraged about Friday.  Gary kept saying we don't need to decide until Friday morning so I didn't.
About 4:00 a.m. I woke up and felt good and didn't have a temp so I was excited--the graduation "walk" was on!  Then around 9:00 a.m. when I was starting to curl Jena's hair, I reached for the curling iron and picked up the wrong end--Ouch!!  That set us back about 30 minutes while Gary fixed my hand and I took a break.  (Randomly, although there were three little blisters at the time, they have cleared up in just a couple of days. A sweet mercy as I prepare for my trip to Japan.)

Finally I was ready to go and we headed to Logan with Grandma Hall and Jena.  It was a beautiful day and spring is a pretty time to be on campus.  This was my first and only time on campus as a student of Utah State University.  I got dropped off a bit early so walked around a bit to think and to take some pictures.

We arrived a bit early so we did a drive by
of the Logan Temple

It was a beautiful day and spring is a pretty time to be on campus.  This was my first and only time on campus as a student of Utah State University.  I got dropped off a bit early so walked around a bit to think and to take some pictures.

We had to gather at the Nelson Field House---

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This is one of our fun photos as we waited
The Kaysville Cohort
The one with the red is our professor, Susan Egbert
In honor of Susan, many of us wore converse shoes--Susan wore them most days when she taught.  I think she liked the gesture.

The first of many pictures of our shoes---Curt is in the dress shoe.  His wife, not knowing, threw out his old converse shoes and he didn't realize it until he went to get them that morning. 

Susan was laughing because as we took the pictures of our shoes, someone said, "One, two, three!" as if our shoes were "smiling and looking at the camera".  That made us all start laughing and became a part of the shoe pictures after that.

Amber Hellstrand and Cami
Lori and Suzie
 One of my talented fellow classmates added some bling to her cap---

As I mentioned this was a season of graduations and at this one, I was joined by my nephew Eric McKinney who was graduating in statistics from USU in the same ceremony.  (My niece in law also graduates soon with her masters in school counseling from the University of Phoenix.)

Our walk from the Field house to the ceremony at the Spectrum: There were people along the way taking pictures and clapping for us,  It was one of those little moments that are strangely touching. They didn't know me at all--they were lined up for someone else along the way, but their clapping acknowledged a bit of the journey that is graduate school.  It is not an easy journey but it has been amazing.
Gary said that they were able to watch the march in from the big screen in the building.  Grandma Hall spotted me first.

I know this is a terrible picture but it is the only one that I got of Gary, Jena and Mom Hall in the crowd.  Yes they are there because I took this picture right after I saw Gary's signal in the crowd.

The back story:  Rick and Anna had shared that Rick, Linda and another set of parents by them had signaled Anna their location by the four of them making triangles with the lights of their phones. Gary told me that he would signal me in a similar way.  He had texted me the general location but then when I entered into the arena and taken my seat, I looked up and saw him making a "J" with his phone light.  He said he could see me smile when I saw him.  Cell phones are quite an invention. Thanks to Rick and Anna for that tip.

This is after we got our diploma.  We are seated in the third and fourth rows.
Amber Sagers
I was only three rows from the front so I got this picture of Eric receiving his "diploma" cover.

After the ceremony--Selfie with Gary

Picture of my hood---

Jena is a bit shorter than the Aggie Bull
We had a small reception over in the famous Quad.  Here is another photo of part of our cohort and of course, another shoe picture (they are "graduated" shoes now!)---

My main professors---Susan Egbert and Sean Camp.  We were truly blessed to be taught by these talent people- passionate about their work and about their role as mentors to us as social workers.  I will never forget them.  And they say, they will never forget us as we were awesome.  Like a good set of parents, they made us all feel like their favorites--

We gave our professors unique t-shirts with their "hallmark sayings" on them--
The fronts
Sean:  "I own that"
Susan: "Cross stitch that"
The backs
Sean:  "Don't get me started"  that was always the beginning of some great story or insight
Susan:  "Timing, Tact, and Dosage"    the critical elements in therapy
And after we ate our Aggies ice cream at the open house, we headed home, directly home, and did not stop at Olive Garden to say hi to Eric and company.  By then my meals of mostly toast and crackers was wearing off and also Gary was starting to get sick.  Yes, unfortunately, the bug had gotten Gary too. We headed home and went to sleep and actually did that most of the day on Saturday as well.  Which is why we missed our second graduation dinner--although this one we postponed. We were going to celebrate with the Utah kids and grandkids on Saturday evening but neither Gary or I were up to that so we postponed it.

I was able to manage to do some housecleaning in preparation for leaving for 12 days and I also did about 3 hours of homework for this upcoming semester--no rest for the wicked they say and no break for summer semester.  Today, Jena and I taught our Primary class and we took another long nap before I started updating the blog.

I also traded out Jena's mission items and added my graduation things on this entry table.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences gave us the medal on the white ribbon.

As I was thinking about graduation I realized that it was in 1987, exactly 30 years ago and a few days that I graduated from BYU with my first masters degree in school psychology.  I wanted something to honor all of my education because all of it has informed who I am today.  So even though I am not a jewelry person, I found a BYU necklace and a Utah State University bracelet and ordered them off Amazon.  I combined them as a necklace and wore them throughout the day on Friday.
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It was a small thing--a 12 hour break in a stomach bug--and "walking" was totally a selfish desire on my part.  It didn't matter in the great scheme of things.  I would still have finished school and become a social worker.  It didn't impact my grades or my connections in my cohort or with my professors. But it was a tender mercy nonetheless.  My prayer was answered and the fever and the other things left for a time and I was able to celebrate with my family and my cohort from school.  It was a small thing but I was so grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing it to happen.

The second time was actually sweeter--because it was the first time that I shared it personally with other classmates who I had shared the journey with and our professors.  As we entered the tunnel into the arena, all professors and administration of Utah State University were lined along both sides clapping as we past by.  It was a special moment as I saw our social work professors reach out their hands to "high five" each one of us as we walked by them.  We loved them and they loved us and I think they were as proud of us as our families were.

When I graduated in 1979 with my BS in psychology, I didn't know who else I might have known who graduated at the same time.  My first masters program only included 8 students, but I was the only one that chose to do the thesis route.  They had to do a project which was a shorter process.  On top of that I had Jessica two weeks after finishing my course work which made an additional delay. We ended up graduating at different times.  This day was shared with about 15 of the 20 of us.  It was great to sit with them and to also see them reach their goal of becoming a social worker (almost).  I knew a bit of their own journey over the past 3 years and it was an honor to have share it with each one of them.
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This is almost everyone except for Nancy who was sick on the day of this picture.  Rachel said that our of 16 shots this was the only one no one had their eyes closed--our cuddle picture!  Social workers!

And again--I can't thank Gary enough for his support, love, encouragement, and everything else he did so that I could do this again.  He is the only person that has attended all three of my college graduations!  That alone is a sacrifice.  All of my kids have also sacrificed time and energy from me because I was doing homework or internships and they have been my biggest cheerleaders.  I couldn't have done this without them either.

And grandkids---all of you have arrived since I was accepted into graduate school--(not caused by me going to graduate school) but you are my best graduate presents ever--Scarlett, Niki, Liam, Zander, James, and Cooper--I don't know if college is part of the great plan in place for you--we all have our own paths to discover, explore and accomplish, but I want you to know that you can achieve those things most important to you if you sacrifice other things that are good for something better, if you work hard and don't try to take the easy route and if you allow those around you to support you and be your cheerleaders! I will always stand as your support and cheerleader in your journey of life.  You can do hard things!!!

And that's a wrap--

1 comment:

Gemie said...

Judy, I am sooooo proud of you and your accomplishments! Keep wishing I could spend some time with you. Best wishes to you as you finish up and start your new career!