The second week of July was very hectic. Quite fun filled, but hectic: working full time, shooting and editing graduation pictures, and cleaning the house to prepare for the big weekend drained the life out of me, but the oncoming weekend's excitement brought joy. The Friday night before graduation, I and a fellow Kauaian, Dawn, hosted a "Hawaiian night" and invited over a bunch of people from Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island for some ono grindz. I don't recall if anyone from Maui was present. We also opened up the house to anyone in SLO to come out and hang, but many of the graduates probably didn't attend because they had family in town. Regardless, we made tonkatsu, spam musubi, kalua pig, and curry. People got fed... a good twenty-five or so people showed up, including most of our house members.
Friday night came and went. Some people went to the bars and others stayed home. A few of Willis' friends and his sisters crashed at the house, so it was fairly packed. Then... Saturday arrived. The Big Day, Round 1. The big ceremony ended around 11:00 a.m. COE, CAFES, COSAM, and CAED all walked that day. Most graduates attended the big ceremony, some didn't. Afterwards, we met a small handful of grads at the very popular Rose Garden right behind Spanos Stadium. Nearly four years ago I remember meeting all of these young men and women as wee freshmen. It was fitting to be around and see them end their college careers as well. Here are a few photos from the garden. It was bright, hot, and sunny. Keywords: hot and sunny.
Small ceremonies commenced shortly afterwards. I followed a group walking to Mott Gym and the Rec Center, which is where Willis and Tony's ceremonies were being held. I stepped in to the Rec and snapped a couple quick shots for Sir Tony-a-lot, but just as quickly slipped out to attend Willis' ceremony. Sorry Tony!
There were actually more Mechanical Engineering graduates than I had originally expected (mixed with Fire Protection Engineering grads). I sat with WIllis's family, extended relatives, friends, and some of our house-mates in the bleachers. When he got up from his row to line up, I and a few of other other guys walked down to the floor to do our thing.
Afterwards, a few of us ran to meet the Electrical Engineering graduates at their ceremony. There were a lot of people waiting out in the heat. Thankfully, Poly provides free water for commencement attendees. Yay, free water. It was disheartening to see Dexter Lawn turning brown since the enactment of a new water conservation policy. Oh well. More water for the people.
A few of us went home for lunch. James and Willis' families awkwardly ate lunches in different rooms. Thankfully we have a big house with plenty of space. Chris, I, and Jocelyn rushed back to campus for his ceremony. We dropped Chris off near the Rec (his ceremony was at Mott Gym) and found parking nearby.
Jocelyn and I headed to the Multi Activity Center (MAC) in the Rec Center for the Parks and Rec ceremony. There were a ton of people there. Seats were packed back to front with some families standing along the walls. The P&R graduates entered the MAC through one of the rear doors. I waited for Angela to walk by, and snapped a few quick ones :). After she walked, Jocelyn and I quickly headed over to Chris' ceremony at Mott. He walked, had quite an embarrassing moment, Chris received his Certificate of Accomplishment and was full of laughter post-embarrassment. Let's just say that Chris won't forget handshakes any time soon.
Saturday night was eventful, too. I didn't end up attending the 7:00 p.m. ceremonies, but instead went with Willis, a bunch of his family, and some friends to Montana de Oro for dune boarding! Everyone slid at least once. Hiking back up the sand dune killed it, though. When we returned home, Willis' parents and aunt/uncle made delicious foooooooooooood for us to eat. Think: ribs, tacos, ribs, tacos, ribs, tacos, ribs, tacos. Yum. We stuffed our faces and spent a few hours at Feto with some of the other graduates, and called it a night.
Oh boy. We all crashed early Saturday night and got up early on Sunday. OCOB and CLA were set to walk in the morning and afternoon. A good number of people met in the Rose Garden (man, this pattern is going to get to me soon) just after the main ceremony (again), but before the small ceremonies. Everyone was decked out in their caps and gowns. Some were already wearing numerous leis on from family members and friends. Gotta love that Hawaiian culture. A good number of people had decorated their caps, too! Below is Esther's cap, I think. She's quite crafty. Understatement. And then there are Conner and Luke. They're fun. Understatement.
A short time thereafter we started moving into Spanos Stadium, which is where the big OCOB ceremony was being held. Most of the graduates we knew sat in the front and were easy pickings for photos :).
A lot of running went on that day. And it's not fun to run with expensive equipment in your hands. Our little group started at OCOB but walked over to the Graphic Desgn ceremony for Olivia. However, when we got there we knew that it would be a while before she was called. I got word from a reliable source that the OCOB folks were just about to walk. So I ran what felt like 100 miles back Spanos Stadium and made it just in time for the tail end of the Masters degrees and the start of the Bachelors degrees. I posted up near the front of the stage and tried to look professional... in my slippers. So happy for these folks!
Right after the business graduates walked, I got word that Olivia was about to walk, so I ran another 1,000 miles in an attempt to make her ceremony. However, I arrived just a minute or two after she was called, and was quite sad. Another 10,000 miles later I head over to the English ceremony for Sarah. President Armstrong was also there, shaking hands with the common folk! Just kidding. I got in on a selfie with him when I graduated last year :). Congratulations, Sarah!
Last but not least, a herd of alumni and friends headed back over to Mott Gym for Ms. Jorgie Wu's ceremony (Psychology). Crazy stuff. I and a few others just made it to the tail end of her ceremony, and so we stuck around for a while afterwards to bid our congratulations.
All in all, it was a crazy week and crazy weekend. Most of the graduates moved out of SLO over the course of the next few weeks. Since then, SLO has become quite less eventful. I think that says a lot about their presence in SLO.
It is done.
What Was Learned
- I am capable of crying
- D's get Degrees