So it’s all done. Over. Finito.
Graduation came and went in a flurry. My program, CCT, hosted a brunch for grads and their families on Friday. The space — Papa Razzi restaurant in Georgetown — was nice, and the food was good, but there wasn’t near enough room for “mingling,” the buffet line wasn’t well-planned and (rumor had it) about 100 more people than had RSVPed showed up. Brunch was followed by the ceremony itself, held indoors because of concerns about rain. Just getting lined up for the processional was an experience, as graduation staffers screamed at us to find our misnumbered seats in the muggy tent. And the ceremony itself went well (thank goodness for air conditioning!). Many of my classmates and I made a point of clapping for as many of our CCT compatriots as we could (when we weren’t ourselves onstage for our respective master’s “hoodings”).
The ceremony was followed by recessional of all the graduates out of the arena and across campus to the ICC, where we could pick up our diplomas and partake in a post-ceremony reception with family and friends. I got separated from the group and made my own way to the ICC, where I got lost (hopefully for the last time ever) trying to get to the party on the third floor atrium. With hardly anyone in the Graduate School office yet, picking up my diploma was a breeze. (The diploma itself is a curious thing, huge but on surprisingly flimsy paper stock, and, written all in Latin, rather impressive.) The Family and Rob made their way to the reception, and we chatted and snacked for a bit before the crowds and our hunger for more substantial food led us outside, in the (almost vain) hope of catching a cab to dinner at Faccia Luna in Clarendon.
On Saturday, a big group of friends and family got together at DC tapas joint Jaleo for a fun lunch filled with food adventures and good conversation. Afterwards, Michaela, Rob and I headed over to Teaism to chat and pass the time until (a very) happy hour (to the tune of two pitchers of margaritas) with Kat at Lauriol Plaza in Dupont. Thus reinforced, we then made our way over to a party at Georgetown’s Tiki Bar hosted by some of our CCT classmates. We ended the evening at Kat’s apartment, hanging out and decompressing a bit from the busy past couple days.
On Sunday, I decided to forego the University Baccalaureate mass in favor of a more leisurely breakfast and an earlier departure time to Holden Beach, N.C., where we’d gather with our family from South Carolina for a weeklong family reunion at a rented beach house. Even though there were 12 of us staying in the house, it didn’t feel overly crowded, and, for the most part, we all got along and had a good time, enjoying each other’s company and, alternately, finding some time for individual repose. I was able to take a few solitary walks along the shoreline, which went a long way toward easing me into a mellow, “relaxed at the beach” mindset. I had to come back early on Wednesday because of work, but everyone else stayed through Saturday. My family drove back up that evening, stayed the night (Mom, Ashley and I had a fun “girls night,” featuring frozen custard at the Dreamery, the Jefferson Memorial at night and the movie Sliding Doors), and flew back to Tucson on Sunday morning.
Sunday afternoon brought strawberry pie-baking and a scrumptious Memorial Day weekend feast at Kristen and Eric’s drool-worthy townhouse near Dupont.
I think yesterday was the first day I was really able to take a deep breath and relax, as I try to establish a new school-free routine.
People keep asking me questions like, “Now that you’re done with school, do you still have a nagging feeling that you still have lots of studying to do?” Honestly? Not really. It is a bit strange not having to worry about squeezing in time for class-related reading, but at the same time, that time void — which, in a sense, never existed in the first place, as I had to make time for school — has quickly been filled by make-up time at work, freelance projects and more opportunities to have something of a life. That said, I have availed myself of a few mind-numbing, completely unproductive evenings in front of the television — and relished every guilt-free second of it.
I’ve renewed my personal committment to eating better and getting back in shape (I can’t use school as an excuse anymore!), and Rob is teaching me a bit about volleyball so that I might join in a game or two with the Friday night volleyball crowd and not embarrass myself too much. I’m also enjoying the prospect of being able to read for fun now, and finally be able to tackle all those books on my mental “rather be reading” list. And I have lots of travel planned for this summer, too.
Things are looking good. :)