Graduation was on Saturday and it is complicated. I, like many of my peers as part of the class of 2020, have a complicated relationship with graduation because we cannot help but continue to mourn the loss of celebrations and be a bit salty about the cancelled graduations we experienced.
I think because of these feelings, I was especially sensitive to the class of 2021 and my students, who were really hoping to have a graduation of their own. And so I volunteered to spearhead graduation and plan it with a great group of students (some who were graduating, others who will be in future years). We worked together for six intense weeks to make our socially-distanced in-person graduation (with pods and markers for guest seating) with a joint (virtual) live-stream! We had speeches, programs, hoodings, gifts, goodies, websites, Polaroids, and more to celebrate the students in love and in style. It was a lot. But it was also everything.
As part of the ceremony, I got to hood my amazing incredible advisees who have GRADUATED 🎉🎓🎉🎓🎉🎓 #ClassOf2021. They are a special bunch, as I wrote to my message to them on the graduation website I created (through Notion, of course):
Congratulations Class of 2021! As the class that welcomed me to Miami when I came for my campus visit, you all were a formative reason for why I wanted to join the Miami SAHE program as a faculty member. The group advising times, meetings, 1on1s, ProDevo events, and observing you all transition from graduate students to Student Affairs Professionals— all of these things have been highlights for me this year. Thank you for the work you have done, continue to do, and will do in your next steps. I am excited to continue supporting you all in your respective journeys and eagerly anticipating the ways you will make our field and our campuses more liveable, authentic spaces. Cheers and congrats!!!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
I'm so proud of them and was so honored to hood them. (Admittedly, I was also incredibly nervous to hood them and practiced on quite a number of people just in case).
I'm not quite done with my first year as a professor. I still have what feels like a mountain of grading to do and a graduation to help execute. But today felt like one of those days of "almost" so here are small snippets with no connection except that they all happened today. No big "moral" or takeaway at the end, just small bits of prose.
Snippet 1: With Covid-19 vaccinations and improvements with weather, some of my students and I have been able to see each other outside-- distanced, of course. Today was one of those days and it was lovely to 1. see people's heights which is always hilarious given the different angles my head will now turn; and 2. just being in shared (non-virtual) space. It felt like an apt wrap-up with the student group I've been advising and a wonderful celebration of the year. We also took some polaroids; my selfie polaroid game has not improved in the slightest.
Snippet 2: With graduation around the corner, the students and I who have been the graduation committee did a run-thru, which also included my practicing hooding my advisees. (The experience was both incredibly sentimental and something I'll explore later, given that with physical graduation being cancelled for me last year, I have yet to be hooded by my own advisor. Luckily, I watched a lot of videos to practice). The run-thru has been a culmination of 8 weeks of very intense planning with a team worthy of their own event staff company as we grappled with outdoor venues, livestreaming options, decorations, programming, and a hundred other details I am forgetting. Thank goodness they're running the show. I'm looking forward to celebrating the class of 2021.
Snippet 3: I went to my office. I don't go often given that it's relatively empty and I'm still hoarding my books at my home workspace, but going made me realize that once the semester is over, I'll make the transition from home space to my office space. I saw and dreamt a bit of how the end of the semester will quickly mean the preparation for the next. The wheels keep turning., especially as I look at the goals of my summer planning. Do I even want to cross the finish line? (Yes, obviously and I will celebrate plenty when I/we do).
In a year, I read somewhere around 100-200 books. I don't have a TV and I use reading as a form of escape, and I especially like reading outside of academia. It also helps with improving my writing :)
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).