Last week, on hump day, I got to watch a dear friend graduate from a intense year at Blanche Macdonald. To be fully truthful, the field of study is a bit beyond my understanding. I do, however, know that my friend worked hard, was determined, and dedicated most of her spare moments to succeeding in a new field after years of what one might consider traditional secondary education at college and university.
My trip started early in the morning with a ferry ride to the Vancouver BC. The ride was less than exciting as well as fairly bumpy due to a wind and rain storm. Yet it was productive as it allowed for a significant amount of time to focus on my own academic journey. As I disembarked from the ferry, my friend was patiently waiting for me. We ventured to share the first of our meals together before heading downtown. It has been a long time since I have used the Skytrain in and around Vancouver, but like most on the mainland tell me, it was definitely a quicker way to reach the core.
It was time to celebrate hard work, dedication, a desire to achieve, and successfully completing a hard twelve months of schooling.
The ceremony was unlike any graduation ceremony I have attended before. It was small, cute, inspiring, and quick. A couple of leaders at the school, who share over seventy years of experience at the school, provided inspiration as they shared quotes and encouraged students to continue to dream, challenge themselves, and grow in their respective fields. One of the leaders read the front of a card she had received from a previous student that captured me.
After the short speals by the leaders, they called each of the ten or so students up individually, provided hugs and I am sure a few personal encouragements, handed each student flowers, and took a memorable picture. The ceremony, less than half an hour was perfect. No one was shifting in their seats from boredom, no one needed to interrupt the ceremony to use the bathroom, and before you knew it group, individual and family photos were being taken and students were being ushered to their classes.
Throughout the ceremony I thought about the amount of similar ceremonies, most significantly longer, parents and siblings sit through. I thought about the humble pride family members hold for their graduates and also the fears that come with graduating such as finding a job, paying off student loans, and so forth. Every time one of these fears popped into my head, likely a projection of how I am feeling about my forthcoming graduation (a minimum of one year from now), I stopped myself and starting to think about the amazing work that goes into such a moment. Students diligently (at least I hope) work towards their goals, educators spend hours preparing and sharing knowledge as well as constant learn from their students, and support staff carry the burden of ensuring the correct steps are followed for each student and educator to ensure students walk across a stage and get a fancy piece of paper.
Our evening was just as wonderful. After prayers we ventured to a friends (new friends for me) place for what was supposed to be a short visit. Their daughter was a participant at this past summers camp that I was at, so I knew I was going to have some point of connection. Our short visit turned into a lengthy, exciting, and fun filled evening. We listened to stories about global travels, we discussed challenges faced as youth, we indulged over snacks, we ventured out onto their deck to check out their backyard river, and before we knew it we were leaving their place just after 1:30am. It was casual, simple, and exactly how I like to spend my evenings if I am not in my own home.
So, while this hump day activity did not take me into nature, it took me to witness my dear friend celebrate a moment of great achievement. Congratulations on your Graduation!