As I watched the Class of 2014 graduates walk across the stage while their partners snapped photos, I felt more emotion than anticipated yesterday.
On Saturday, when I volunteered at Darden’s 29th Annual Pig Roast in honor of the graduates, I briefly chatted with a few SY partners in the midst of running around and refilling trays and bowls of food. But on Sunday, I could actually take in what was being said as an onlooker in the audience of the Final Exercises in Flagler Court at Darden.
I soaked up every detail, and in the course of a couple of hours, I felt emotions ranging from excitement and pride to sentimentality and nervousness. These emotions stood out the most to me:
- Anxiety – while getting advice about reserving hotel rooms and restaurant dinners as early as possible for out-of-town guests (some saying to even start now – one year away from when my husband will graduate!)
- Admiration – while seeing proud parents carry their infant children, born during the years at Darden, across the stage and knowing how much those students and their partners had to juggle with an already hectic schedule
- Awe – while listening to special recognition from faculty of students who contributed in a myriad of ways to Darden, such as mentoring FYs and running different organizations
- Nostalgia – while taking a photo of the entire crowd of graduates in caps and gowns because the moment transported me back in time to when I used to work at the graduation ceremonies in my past profession as a high school teacher
- Mixture of sadness and gratitude – while watching students sing the Irish blessing “Until We Meet Again” and then while realizing that we are only one year away from this moment…
- I grew tearful because not only was I finding it hard to say goodbye to certain SYs I’ve gotten to know, but I was finding it much harder to recognize that half of my time in Cville is now done.
- Yet, I am grateful because this past year has truly made me a better person and because I at least still have one more year left in this place that has become my home.