I officially finished Grinnell schoolwork at 5 p.m. on Friday. I gave my music portfolio to my adviser at 5:01 (thank goodness he was still in his office; for once he didn't make himself scarce at 5 on the nose), and he gave me a graduation present from the department: Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. I fucking love Stevie Wonder, and I didn't have Songs yet, so this was a great gift. Usually, the department gives each senior some lame book that they've obviously picked up at the college bookstore at the last minute, something they hope has vaguely to do with that person's field of interest, so I had been expecting some lame jazz book by a white guy. So this was a pleasant surprise. (I know that I should be grateful that they give any kind of gift at all, but it's a small college with a tiny music department (I was one of eight music majors in my class), which makes it possible for them to give personalized gifts.)
From my computer science adviser, I also got a terrific present for anyone graduating from college: an easy vegetarian cookbook. Rock on. He wrote me a really nice card, too: "I am repeatedly thrilled by your clear love for the mathematical side of the discipline."
I spent the weekend packing and saying goodbye to people, and there was also a lot of "Oh, my God, I can't believe we're done!" On Sunday I went for a 16-mile run, which was pretty much uneventful. (I remembered to eat beforehand.) The actual graduation ceremony was on Monday morning. We had nice sunny weather for it, although kinda windy; my main thought as I walked across the stage and back to my seat was "Please don't let my hat blow off. Please don't let my hat blow off." The massive thunderstorm didn't happen until later that day. I went for a 6-mile run during it. The sky looked amazing, and there was ball lightning along the horizon, which I had never seen before.
Also, it was kind of funny. I'm running along in the rain, and it dawns on me that the rain, well, hurts. I keep going, and it eases up a bit, and then a woman, a soccer-mom type, pulls up next to me in her minivan. I pull off my headphones (Stevie).
She: You want a ride?
Me: No thanks.
She: It's hailing.
Me, thinking to myself, Fuck, dude, that was hail?!: That's okay, I'm almost done, I only have a mile to go, but thanks. (This was a little white lie; I had four miles to go.)
She's already rolling up her window, clearly thinking twice about the wisdom in having my waterlogged ass on her nice, dry leather-trimmed interior, and she drives off, and I keep going, and about 30 seconds later all precipitation stops and it's sunny for the rest of the run. Such is Iowa weather. (No rainbow this time, though. Oh, well.)
I think that basically, the entire graduation-weekend thing is a way to put off saying goodbye. None of the endings are really endings. You finish on Friday, but you end your conversation with your profs by saying you'll see them at the departmental breakfast on Monday. You leave the party on Saturday by saying to your friends you'll see them at commencement. You tell people you missed seeing at baccalaureate on Sunday that you'll catch up with them at the picnic on Monday afternoon. You tell your friend who's working the picnic to come to a party Monday night. As you're leaving for the Monday night party, you make sure that your floormates will still be up, packing their stuff, when you get back. Tuesday morning, you assure friends that you'll still be on campus, even though you'll be moved out by noon. And when you finally say goodbye, it's just to say, "Well, you'll be in Chicago sometime, right? We'll see each other." What it comes down to is that there were goodbyes that I never got to say. We will see each other again, probably, but this was an ending which we didn't always acknowledge. Although, in the middle of moving, throwing an old Goodwill chair off the fire escape with Andy and JP, and watching it explode on the sidewalk more magnificently than we could have ever imagined, was probably as fitting a farewell to our floor, and the year, and Grinnell, as anything.
So. Here's the plan.
- May 21-23: In Chicago for job training. Also, buying a cell phone.1
- May 24-29: Back in Iowa to: chill; go running; take lots of stuff to Goodwill; separate other stuff into need-at-camp and don't-need-at-camp; maybe get some web design books and study them for work.
- May 30-June 1: In Chicago to run the marathon! Woo!
- June 2-June 25: Back in Iowa to finally work on the Charter Ag website, for real. Get parents to finally figure out what they want, for real. Other things to do: take GRE; get first aid certification for work.
- June 26-August 7: Working/living at iD in Evanston, teaching web design plus a little digital music editing. Hopefully also finding job for post-camp.
- August 8-the foreseeable future: Moving in with Ashley in Chicago (supposedly already have cute, relatively cheap apartment!). Working and/or continuing job search; starting new band; doing more CS grad school research; being an adult?
- Help! I've been actively avoiding getting a cell phone for the last few years, but it's time to cave. What do y'all recommend? It's going to be my only phone through all of the above.