Graduating is one of those great, bittersweet moments in your life that are both the end and the beginning of periods in your life. My last graduation in 2010 was the end of my high school career, ending 9 years in the same school with the same people, starting an adventure that I had set plans for. That moment when I stepped on stage in my old high school – that very school that my brother, my mother and my grandmother had graduated from – I accepted my diploma and was ready to embark on a set in stone 6.5 year academic journey.
Let me tell you 19 year old me, there have been pivotal points since then that changed your paths, your friends, and your career. 5 years and two weeks after I graduated from high school, I was getting ready for another graduation. A graduation that was the ending of a 5 year journey as an undergrad trying to find their right path and themselves. The journey had stops at three different universities, three cities and two continents. After five years I was ready to get up on a stage again, accept a diploma and embark on a new chapter.
In those five years dozens of exams were written, hundreds of pages of academic papers, uncountable presentations held, and yet at the end it is all summarized on a sheet of paper that is basically an action card to pass GO and advance to a new field… collecting 200 not necessarily included… now don’t ask me where the Monopoly reference came from. At the day of my graduation I was buzzing, to be reunited with my friends Silke and Tracy – whose post about our graduation can be found here – to be presented with the decorative diploma, and to celebrate the three years at my Alma Mater that had led to this day. Now I mean positively buzzing in its literal meaning, not in the semi-sarcastic way it has adapted since Louis Tomlinson’s remark on GMA. Yeah this paragraph has too many pop-cultural references.
The weather reports were right for once were right and the heat of 35°C+/95F in the shadow hit our 11am graduation with full force. To add insult to injury, the graduation was held in a tent in the park of the university to no breeze could provide relief. It was a great graduation with nice speeches, good music, and a great exclaim of relief when the speeches were cut short to end graduation sooner and let everyone get out of the black cap and gowns. So after only about two hours of speeches it was finally time to get in line and up on stage to accept that diploma. Presented by a seemingly important member of the university that I had never met before and probably will never meet again, but hey in that moment this gentleman was my favorite person in the whole tent. Sorry parents, brother and friends.
After all hands were shook, congratulations from friends’ parents accepted, and people that I had had a class with at some point of my academic journey hugged as if we were the greatest of friends (seriously it happens at every graduation or larger festivity… why?), I found my two girls to take the stereotypical ‘tossing the cap’ shot.
Dress – Hallhuber
Shoes – Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Our university does graduation in one way: BIG. And by big I do not only mean 1.5k+ students at once, I mean “let’s throw a giant ball, rent out all the ball rooms at the Maritim with Casino rooms, dance floors, 3 course dinner, live acts, and a big band.”
Once the formal graduation wrapped up, Silke and I went to her parents (not to forget that moment of panic, that cause us to stop at a gas station somewhere in the city to wait for my brother who was already on the autobahn back to Cologne because my ticket to the ball was forgotten in my mother’s purse). Originally, we had planned to spend the day in the city, change at a friend’s place and head to the hotel from there, but at 35°C+/95F+ lounging by the pool for a few hours sounded much more appealing. So that’s what we did. Hours later, refreshed and relaxed, we met up with Tracy again and had a great girls night with many laughs, silly dances, gossip, and group selfies that will never be shared.
It was a great way to wrap up those three years at this university, end the five years as an undergrad, and celebrate the friendship with two of my dearest friends.
Dress – White by Vera Wang
Shoes – Hugo Boss