Monday, May 16, 2016

Graduation

Brigid graduated from college this weekend! Her (now) alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, is ranked the number one public art school in the United States and the number one school for sculpture among all American art schools. Brigid chose to go there after also being accepted at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pratt Institute, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Ultimately, her degree is a BFA in art education, but earlier, she majored in communication arts (drawing), then crafts and materials studies, and finally art education. She was also a sculpture major during her time at the University of Cape Town. She'll be teaching art workshops in Richmond this summer and also attending an improv workshop in Munich (with Jon and Seamus).

OK, enough bragging. We're just really proud, and it's also quite nice to reflect on the fact that two of our four children now have bachelor's degrees. (Ian's degree is in classics.) I don't particularly like graduation ceremonies themselves, but the VCU arts graduation was nice. VCU is a huge state school, but the art school has a separate, relatively intimate ceremony in an old theater, rather than the booming Siegel Center where the main school graduation is held. It was laid-back enough to be fun, but with enough pomp to make you realize that we were witnessing a big deal. No attempt was made to police the applause, and amazingly, every name was heard and everyone got their applause too. At the risk of sounding like a fatuous self-appointed judge of graduations, I'll say it was nicely done all around.


Of course, there's always my personal inner drama, but there wasn't much of that either. Having experienced what the UVA graduation does to Charlottesville, I was expecting terrible traffic and an impossible time finding a parking space. Instead, we rolled into a surprisingly quiet Richmond, found a free parking space on the street a short walk from Brigid's apartment. We were early because I'd allowed so much extra time for traffic that never materialized. From Brigid's apartment, it was an easy fifteen minute walk to the Altria Theater. Once there, I had a brief moment of panic when I saw they were searching all bags upon entrance. My own bag contained a ludicrous assortment of things one doesn't usually bring to a graduation: a pair of Dansko clogs (in case the thonged sandals I was wearing got too uncomfortable) a cardigan sweater, a copy of Emma Beddington's (one of my all-time favorite bloggers) lovely memoir (to read while waiting for the ceremony to start) and my entire smaller purse. Luckily, there was no ban on clunky Swedish clogs, just food and drinks and many people had to leave their water bottles at the door.

We were told the ceremony would last from 2:00pm-4:00pm. It started on time, and at precisely 4:02 it was all over and we were grouped together on the curb, planning our next move. We had originally planned to walk down to Belle Isle (hence the clogs) but there was a blast of freezing wind and a sudden downpour that sent us scurrying for home where we drank champagne and posted our pictures onto social media. Later, we went to Ipanema, one of our favorite Richmond restaurants, for a celebratory dinner. Altogether a lovely day.

19 comments:

  1. Congratulations! It sounds like a lovely day. It must feel good to be halfway there on getting your kids through college!

    I must admit, I often carry spare shoes and a book, just in case. Plus my water bottle, various snacks (always an apple), hankies for everyone AND a sweater, sometimes two (you know, in case anyone else gets chilly). Why yes, I do often carry a tote bag as a purse. This may also be why I don't get out too terribly much.

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    1. Always bring a book! That is my cardinal rule.

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  2. Congratulations to you and Brigid! I'm dreading going to my son's graduation in a few years but hoping I can fake it. "I was there -- didn't you see me?"

    I'd be in big trouble in the event of a surprise bag inspection since I carry an exacto knife and needle-nose pliers at all times.

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    1. Ha, the exacto knife might raise eyebrows. I tend to skip graduation ceremonies too. We would have attended Ian's, but he ended up in the hospital.

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  3. Congratulations! I enjoyed your photos on instagram. Our last college graduation is coming up Memorial Day weekend... bittersweet. I'll plan ahead for a possible bag search ;-)

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  4. Congratulations! I am glad to hear of a graduation ceremony that was just right. I found our daughter's graduation day yesterday to be full of anxiety - for me, not for her. And it was so cold it might as well have been in Alaska.

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    1. It was a very cold weekend for the east! Congratulations to you as well. I think graduations are a little like New Year's eve. There's a lot of frenetic celebrating, but also considerable anxiety about the future. At least with a graduation, there's a real accomplishment to be celebrated.

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  5. Congratulations to Brigid. The ceremony sounds nicely done. Wow, you were carrying a lot of stuff in your purse, glad they let it all in to the ceremony.

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  6. Congratulations to Brigid! And congratulations to you too, for getting two of them successfully off to adulthood. That sounds like a very nice celebration day. The community college where I teach has graduation ceremonies in their gym, where the acoustics are such that no one (not even the students) can actually make the out the speakers or names. Some colleges just don't do it very well!

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    1. I imagine a gym is not ideal for acoustics!

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  7. Congratulations! And, yes, I quail at the thought of having my purse inspected. EVERYTHING is in there.

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    1. Apparently, it's a thing now. I read that at this coming weekend's UVA graduation, bags will be searched and people will be required to remove outer clothing layers.

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  8. Congratulations! I can't even imagine how it must feel to have two of your children done with school.

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  9. Impressive! How old are your children? The higher ed system works so very differently in Sweden, here no one will think it odd if a young person takes any number of sabbatical years after high school (graduation at 19 normally). Many also take single entry level courses at university in a subject that interests them. My 23-year-old has yet go get serious (maybe this autumn if he qualifies for the nutritionist program) - he has assorted credits in English, History and Comparative Literature and now he works at the deli counter in a rather posh store and also with the Student's Association. We'll see. Luckily education itself is free;-)

    Congrats to all and everyone!

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    1. That's nice to hear! My younger daughter is still not sure what she wants to do, so she took a gap year after high school. I've asked her to consider a nutritionist program because she is interested in it and likes to work with children. My children are ages 23, 22, 20, and 17. It's the 22 year old who just graduated. Good luck to your son!

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  10. Wow! Kudos to her! You have incredibly accomplished kids. Congratulations to YOU!

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