Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Graduates Dilemma

Spring Convocation season is here for every University and College campus, mine included. Next week I finally get to pick up that piece of paper that signifies I've completed my Masters. It's anti-climactic, and yet when I think of all the sleepless nights, tears, anxiety, frustration, personal trauma and set backs that went into acquiring that piece of parchment I know I should feel more than what I do. Sure, it's an achievement to say I completed a Masters degree and yet it's left me feeling less educated and academically aware of the world than I did prior to entering into the program.

To say I've become jaded and slightly bitter with the institution is an understatement. I love education and learning new things, but at the end of my 2 1/2 year stint as an MA student academia has lost its lustre for me and I keep trying to grasp at straws to regain my motivation for a Ph.D. It doesn't help that for the past year I've been going to classes where I have yet to learn anything new- it's just jumping through hoops until I've satisfied the requirements that allow me to do what I want with my research and time. This is not how I envisioned a Ph.D.

Despite all of this I have a graduation. The first dilemma is whether or not to actually attend. Having been there once, I'm not enamoured with the prospect of sitting through several hours in the hot, humid June air to receive my parchment, along with several hundred undergraduates. My parents, however, would be upset if I didn't attend, especially after everything I've had to overcome to complete my degree. So the second dilemma is the eternal question of what to wear? I know I've done this once before, and yet I feel like this time I need to one up myself. Last time I wore a smart white skirt and black and white mod looking top. I have a BCBG dress very similar to this, but in chocolate brown, however I feel like that might be too much cleavage for a graduation. It's too hot for pants, and I have to be careful of the colour I choose to wear so it doesn't look mismatched with the robe and collar. I'm dreading going to the mall to look for something to wear, but it looks like that's what will have to happen after all. It's tempting to just go naked under that robe like so many cliched Hollywood movies.

The key, however, is not so much what you're wearing, but the shoes you choose. For all graduates, when you step on that podium to receive your degree your feet are generally at eye level with the audience and that is what everyone notices. Avoid flip flops and running shoes, do get a nice pedicure and heaven forbid you clomp around like a work horse.

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