5/09/2007

 

Who Put The Pomp In the Pomp and Circumstance?

Lewis-Clark State College Graduation Day May 6, 2007 It wasn’t until I found myself in full graduation drag, sweaty and grouchy during graduation rehearsal, that it actually hit me: I was actually about to graduate. What finally did the trick, I think, was when the soundman cued up that crusty and trusty old graduation ditty “Pomp and Circumstance” and dear Melanie finally started getting wisty on me, “I’m gonna start crying.” I was just going to stay in and do something purposeful and boring like organizing my jpg files, but it was the night before my graduation and I had the urge to celebrate. So Char met me at the pub for a just a few little quick ones, and those turned into a few more little quick ones, and those turned into a few more, slower ones. Oh, and of course when I told everyone I was going to graduate the next day, they wanted to buy me some bonus ones and well, I vaguely remember catching a ride home with Spacebilly, and suddenly I’m cracking a crusty eyelid and looking at the blurry red glow of digits telling me it’s 10:58 AM. Ugh, that means I’ve got exactly 30 minutes to get my shizznit together and be perky and ready for graduation rehearsal. The inside of my mouth was the texture of the great Palouse in August. This wasn’t a painful, headachy hangover, it was more of a dizzy, disoriented, dehydrated kind of feeling. I was finding moving fast a little difficult, but I shifted into autopilot mode, guzzling a big ice-cold green tea (my newest and most favorite form of caffeine administration), and I was feeling OK by the time I shuffled into Boswell Hall, my cap and gown stuffed hurriedly in a plastic Safeway bag. I followed the signs up to a classroom on the 2nd floor they had set up for signing in and changing. Room 220, in the art department where, ironically enough, I began my college career so many years ago. Fine art was the first of many majors I would carry and not complete. Here I was 17 years later in the same room finally wrapping the whole thing up – the official title of my degree is Bachelor of Science in Applied Technology. That’s a nice way of saying Internet Geek. Scanning the room, it was a little comforting to realize that most of the other LCSC graduates were my age or older, only a handful of twenty-somethings were present. Actually, the youngest one in our class was 18 – I still can’t figure out how one gets a BA degree at age 18… I signed in and waited for Melanie. My wooziness returned sitting in that hot little crowded room with a bunch of strangers. See, 90% of my classes at LCSC were held online, so I never actually got to know any of my school mates in person at all. Obviously, I know Melanie already from NIC, and I know Kate Bales from being friends outside of school, and my old friend Toni McCurdy I didn’t even know I went to school with until I ran into her that day. That’s it, virtually everyone else was a new face, and there were more than I thought as well, probably about 150 people. Anyway, as soon as Mel showed, we snuck away to get dressed in peace. Who was it that invented this ritual, who designed this incredibly silly outfit? What kind of fashion statement is it? A tight skull-cap with a large square up top, and a mad tassel dangling to and fro. A long, unflattering black satin dress, totally frumpy and with unexplainable folds and a zip-up front like a big Members Only jacket. I did like the sash, simple white with the school seal embroidered in blue. I had worn a nice long-sleeve dress shirt underneath, but had to lose it before rehearsal due to the notorious and oppressive Boswell Hall heatstroke. Combined with my post-boozy blues, I needed some fresh air stat. We found a nice breezy bench outside the door and played with our hats. I never thought graduation rehearsal could be so hardcore. Unsure of where to line up, we latched onto “coordinator” Rocky Owens, who I suspect was just as confused as we were, but with an uptight edginess thrown in for good measure. Melanie nicknamed him Mr. Anal Retentive. We ended up lined up near the front behind a guy whose booze breath put my own morning-after syndrome to shame. It was hella hot up in there, and to make matters worse, some jackass was coming around handing out these blue surveys and little golf pencils. The survey was all about “How would you rate your experience at LCSC” type questions. As if we’d just eaten at Carl’s Jr. and were filling out a customer comment card. It was pure chaos already and then in the middle of it, they wanted us to just drop everything and fill out a stupid survey. We didn’t even have a flat surface to write on. I asked the guy if we could fill it out later and maybe drop it off at the college and he snapped at me “No, just fill it out!” and I said “No, I’m not going to fill it out right now, I’m a little busy at the moment getting ready to graduate, hello?” “It’s not optional.” So, I wrote in big capitol letters “BAD TIMING FOR A SURVEY.” I mean, couldn’t they have put the survey on the web or sent it out in the mail? Why must it be done right now at the worst possible moment? The tragic part is, no one ever even came back around to collect the damn things, and I saw quite a few people walk across the stage during the actual ceremony with the blue survey still in their hand. Silliness. Once rehearsal was over, family and friends began filling up the auditorium and we had twenty minutes to relax before lining up and doing it for real. For some reason, Mr. Anal Retentive decided to put Melanie and I at the very front of the entire student line-up this time, right behind the college deans in the cool, Harry Potter-ish velvet hats. I was literally the 2nd student to emerge into the throng of people and march down the stairs to the seats in the front section. The audience was larger that I had imagined it would be. The place was nearly full. “Pomp and Circumstance” played again and I looked around for my people but couldn’t see anyone. As soon as I made it down to the front, bam! My mother popped up in the aisle behind us and started clicking off pictures. Amazingly, she still uses an actual film camera, not digital – how quaint. She pointed up at the crowd and I saw the rest of my guests – my dad, Aunt Sally, second cousin Alex. Quincy and little Ella were there somewhere, I found out later, but I didn’t ever end up running into them. We settled in for twenty minutes worth of awkward speeches. Actually, I did quite enjoy president Dene Thomas’ speech – she chose to be humorous and quirky rather than traditional, and that was a fun surprise. We were called to rise and line up for the big walk. We ended up near the middle this time, me in front of Melanie. My name was called, the bright lights shined in my face, I waved to the crowd, shook hands with Dene Thomas, she handed me an empty diploma holder, and I exited stage right. It happened so fast. Melanie followed right behind me, walking across the stage completely barefoot, which garnered a whispered compliment from the president in her ear. We returned to our seats, and I was exhausted and antsy for the whole thing to be done. After a few more forgettable speeches and awards, we collectively flipped our tassels from right to left to symbolize the moment of graduation, the audience went wild, and we exited out into the lobby. I hooked up with the fam, and after a few Kodak moments I ripped off my cap and gown and said “Let us eat!” My mom had decided Bonsai Bistro was the place, and despite my Hagadone allergy, I was really looking forward to a large Sushi assortment. We got there and they were closed for a private function, so we decided to go for plan B: Dockside. I’ll save the gory details for a potential restaurant review, but overall it was a surprisingly good experience. We had a great view, the service was fine, and my Chicken and Broccoli Fettucine and Huckleberry Lemonade were very good. I opened cards and happily, cash kept dropping on my lap. Even though I’ve done the actual graduation ceremony, I still have 2 weeks of classes to complete, so the battle isn’t officially won yet. In fact, I just got a flash of panic realizing how much time I’ve spent on this blog when I should be finishing my dreaded JavaScript exercises.

This was my actually my fifth and final attempt at higher education, and I’m glad this time was successful. My choice of majors went like this: Fine Art changed to Graphic Design changed to Music changed back to Fine Art changed to English changed to Web Design/Internet Tech. I went to University of Idaho in 1990 for once semester, to North Idaho College in 1991 for two semesters, to Spokane Falls Community College for three quarters in 1994, and back to North Idaho College in 1997 for two more semesters. Between these times, I worked, I partied, I worked, I partied some more. It was hard to balance working full time, partying half-time, and school, so school was always the one to go.

In 2003, I decided to not work and not party and get every grant and loan I could to live on and just concentrate on school. I decided on Web Design and Internet Technology because it combines my love of arts and my creative side, and my fascination with the internet in a practical way that could potentially bring in a lot of money. So I decided to enter the Computer Information Technology program at NIC, where I was part of the last class to graduate from the program before they killed it off and replaced it with Landscaping Technology. A rep from LCSC had come to our class to let us know about the BASAT they were offering on their Coeur d’Alene campus and I decided to go for it, and that’s all she wrote.

Mainly for my own amusement, I combed through my transcripts and made a complete list of all courses I completed during my long and winding college career. Yes, my degree was Web Design, but I guess I must know a lot of other stuff, too. It's a little ridiculous, really...

ART 103 Visual Art ART 121 Visual Communication & Design BUSA 107 Mac Usage ENGL 103 Basic Skills In Writing FREN 101 Elementary French I FREN 102 Elementary French II FREN 201 Intermediate French I FREN 202 Intermediate French II MATH 155 Pre-Calculus ANTH 120 Social & Cultural Anthropology ART 122 Design & the Creative Process ART 232 Beginning Painting ENG 102 English Composition ART 111 Drawing I ART 210 Illustration I ART 221 Graphic Design PHOT 101 Intro to Photography HIST 244 Cooperative Study: The Renaissance HUM 101 Intro to Humanities ART 112 Drawing II MUS 127 Survey of American Pop Music COMM 101 Intro to Speech Communications CS 100 Intro to Computers ENG 104 English Composition II ENG 257 Literature of Western Civilization HIST 101 History of Civilization to 1500 ART 100 Survey of Art CINA 126 Film & International Culture PSYC 101 Intro to Psychology CAPS 108 Intro to Computer Applications CAPS 117 Intro to DOS CITE 110 Intro to PC Operating Systems CITE 112 Intro to PC Hardware & Repair CSC 100 College Transition FLAN 207 Contemporary World Cultures – France MATH 123 Contemporary Mathematics BUSO 101 Basic Keyboarding CITE 130 Intro to Internet Technologies CITE 150 Intro to Networking CITE 170 Systems Analysis and Design CITE 232 Intro to Web Page Design CITE 234 Web Design Methods and Technologies CITE 236 Web Based Applications CITE 238 Design for the Web Market ATEC 117 Occupational Relations CITE 242 Advanced Web Page Design CITE 244 Visual Basic CITE 246 Web Languages CITE 295 CITE Internship CITPT 485 Applications in Web Development CITPT 475 Web Development NS 175 Intro to Natural Sciences GNBPT 496 Co-operative Internship HIST 112 US History Since 1865 CITPT 413 Web Database Technologies CITPT 344 Multimedia Web Applications BUS 321 Principles of Marketing SS 350 Ethics: Women of the 20th Century HUM 300 Arts and Ideas SS 384 Computer Forensics CITPT 392 JavaScript Programming PITPT 392 Adobe InDesign GEOL 101 Physical Geology

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Comments:
Congraduations!! I'm so proud of you my little pal... and I love Patty popping up with an old Kodak, gotta love that woman..
 
Congrats! Oddly I just finally finished my first BA at almost precisely the same moment. I'm considering grad school, maybe someday. Seems most grad programs would mean doing about 2 years worth of pre-reqs, since Humanities is not a pre-req for anything.
 
Found your blog just by chance doing a Google search for something else. Your writing drew me in ... for I too have attended LCSC graduation exercises. In fact, I also graduated from the NIC CITE program in 2002 and was responsible for being annoying enough to obtain the First BASAT degree from LCSC on the Coeur d'Alene campus - in Web Development. Yes - it did involve a lot of Internet classes - but that's what we do! Congratulations!

Cheri Calvert
www.chericalvert.com
 
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