Monday, June 13, 2011

Stanford Commencement

The nice part about commencement is that I got to see a lot of my friends again. I was surprised to see so many people coming back for this event. A lot of people have started working already and made it back. I guess if I flew halfway around the world for this, it's not hard to imagine other people driving a few hours. Some of last year's grads also came back to celebrate with us. But the thing about a large crowd is that I never seem to be able to hang out or talk to anyone for long.

We got up at 6am to drive over to Stanford. We got breakfast on the way and I picked up my gown from Mahalia. It took a lot of phone calls to successfully meet up with people. I left my parents in company of a friend's parents. I ended up hanging out in line with the structural engineers from my year and we all congregated in the front of one of the lines for the school of engineering.

The morning ceremony took place at the stadium. I'm not sure if the undergrads were separated by school. It didn't seem necessary. The grads were seperated by school. We all had different hoods with the school's color. School of Engineering is orange. It's too bad that none of my pictures showed the back of my gown. You can see the hood better. I actually liked the thing despite the fact that it felt like it was choking me. My friend from Hawaii got me a lei made with shells and a type of nut. My mom bought me a flower lei from someone strategically selling them as we were walking to the stadium.

We were herded into the stadium and sat on the field. I wonder if they needed to replace the grass after we all stomped on it. The undergrads have this tradition of the Wacky Walk. We didn't see it because we came in after them. But I think it just involves dressing up and doing something "wacky". I think they take off the customes for the diploma cermony. I guess this setup is good in that they get to have some fun and still have normal looking pictures for the diploma receiving.

We managed to sit in the shade but the sun creeped around during the ceremony and it got burning hot. A few people from the Chorus sang America the Beautiful and the Stanford Hymn. I thought their singing was very nice. But I was distracted by some of them wearing cardboard (paper??) signs that said "Do" "Re" and "Me" written with markers. They looked like they were attending a kindergarten graduation. I mean, I guess it's funny but I really thought they looked dumb standing on the stage in front of 10,000 people.

The commencement speaker is the President of Mexico. His speech was pretty typical. I had a hard time concentrating when it got too hot. After his speech, we stood up by school and had our degrees conferred upon us. I met up with my parents outside of the stadium and we walked back to the car to drop stuff off. It was unnecessary to carry jackets around at this point. We made it over to Memorial Auditorium for the diploma ceremony.

I think we had a larger class than usual and it seemed to take forever to get to me. The venue for the reception is way too small for the amount of people (and amount of food they laid out). It was very crowded and and people started calling me before the ceremony had ended. I managed to meet up with everyone who called and got pictures with a lot of people. We went to get Jamba Juice after this, returned my gown, and got the car. I really wanted to keep the hood. I don't think they would have missed it since we just all dumped our gowns in a big bin anyway. But it would be a hassle if they actually asked for it back and it's not like I have anywhere to put it. My place in HK has no space for junk.

That was the end of a very long and exhausting day. I got slightly sunbrunt on my face again. The rest of me was covered by the long gown so that was fine. I really should enjoy the non-humid, non-cloudy sunshine here while I can though. Can't go outside in HK without breaking a sweat. Flying back tomorrow afternoon. So soon! I was just getting used to this idea of "vacation".

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