Friday, June 11, 2010

Graduation for one dedicated but stubborn son of a bitch!

I once asked Pastor Rob what he'd do differently if there were only two people present at the service. He said he wouldn't change a thing. If he can reach out and touch the life of one person on a Sunday, then he has done his work successfully.

I have never forgotten what Rob said, and although I don't have much of an audience anymore, I still want to post my thoughts. I can honestly say that I have often felt as though it wasn't worth the effort, but to those of you who have decided to follow me, and those of you who read me anonymously, I will continue. Thanks for reading.

I can't put my finger on what I'm feeling right now. My days of studying and cramming and stressing about school are over. I will receive a white piece of paper with a ribbon around it tomorrow. Some people call this a degree. I don't feel any different, but at the same time I feel exhilarated, or possibly exhausted. I have focused on my studies for four years, and in the end it has paid off. I have been advised to go on to get my Master's. Had I planned on a seamless continuation it would be a done deal, but my attention has been on what I'll be doing this summer. I've been assured that the door is open for me, so I will make that decision when I return to the United States.

If I were to get up and make a speech when I receive my diploma, I know what I would say. Yes, I'd deliver the motherhood and apple pie "Thanks Mom" message, but there is so much more and there are so many more people I can thank. Over the last four years I've come in contact with a lot of wonderful people. I'd love to mention names, but the names would be those of you who I know read this blog, and then some. I've lost contact with certain Myspace people like Kyle, who always was that voice of reason whispering in my good ear, and Ethan, whose innocence allowed me to feel a little bit better about myself and my situation. My older friends have given me so much knowledge based on their life experience, and perhaps in many ways I'm still sifting through it, sorting out what information I will need as I move forward in life. I think at one time I had five Michaels as friends, all but one were older than I. But life isn't all about Myspace, or any other social network for that matter. Life is about real people. I've been through some real life events that involved real people, and it was the real people on the other end of my network cable who gave me the encouragement to keep going. Granted, often I had to be reminded to put my nose to the grindstone, and to hit the books. There were times when I woke in the morning face down in one of my American Literature books, or perhaps some other light late-night reading assignment involving the origin of Ebonics or other localisms. It was not unusual for me to fall asleep while writing a paper on the computer, only to wake up in the morning and wonder who put the blanket over me and who turned out the light. But I was willing to stick it out. While I never went into much detail about how many hours I spent working, I spent far more than I ever admitted to working. I went to a respectable number of college parties, and I'm happy to say that I never fell off the wagon. I didn't have to get drunk to have fun and to laugh. I had fun and laughed at those who got drunk, wondering what they'll think of themselves in the morning. I was also stubborn. I went to class when, unknown to me, I had an abdominal virus. I learned a new word: "shart". But in my stubbornness and dedication, I at least made the effort to go the distance. Many are proud of me for this. I thank them for feeling so. And now it's time for me to put it behind me, if even for a little while. I've put up with a lot over the last four school and out of school. As my dear friend Devin said to me, "Mikey, you are one dedicated but stubborn son of a bitch!"

And to Devin, who just received his Master's Degree, all I can say is..."It takes one to know one, and you're right!"

I will be leaving for New Jersey on July 6, returning on July 20. I leave for Bali on July 22, with a return date that is to be determined, although it is four months in duration. I will write more about this. David is still going, for which I am grateful beyond words. I'm sure he'll not only teach English, but American cuisine.

Thank you for hanging in there while I studied for my finals. This blog has been too quiet for too long. I never finished my "Class of 2006 through dilated pupils" series. Now it's time to write my "Class of 2010: from infinity and beyond" series! I don't know about infinity, but I'm curious to see what beyond holds.