When all this is done
It’s going to be the “funny-graduation-story-i-will-tell-my-friends-and-family”
Woke up at about 6am (or maybe 5:30am, I was too sleepy to remember.)
(By the way, this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for three months now. Maybe this is a chance for me to finish it.)
So my graduation ceremony will start at 9am. I have plenty of time to get dressed and beat the morning traffic (or! if ever the traffic is unavoidable, I have enough time to reach downtown just in time for the ceremony)
It’s raining and all I’m thinking was: “Great. Will I be walking from one building to another holding an umbrella?”
My umbrella, which looked like a samurai sword, was in the car so I know that I’m ready for the showers early in the morning.
Off to a good start. It’s traffic at the 401 but there’s just enough time to get there.
I… no… did I? Maybe it’s in my pocket. Other pocket?! No. It can’t be.
I left the tickets at home.
My heart dropped and my body started to freeze. I won’t graduate on time. Or worse. I won’t graduate at all. There’s no way we could head back home and drive back at the congested highway to downtown. My head was swirling with thoughts like “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life and I won’t even get to experience it.” and “Ate (Big sister in Tagalog) took the day off just for this and Ma&Pa travelled all the way for my graduation and then this happens.”
Mama drove the car with all her might. She did everything to go through the traffic, getting out of the highway and taking secondary routes, shortcuts and everything she can do so that I can get our tickets and dash back to the car and head downtown.
Fast forward my Mama’s awesome driving skills.
I see the graduation hall now and see a group of people dressed in black robes. I ask my sister what’s happening and she said “That’s them. They’re already marching.”
My Mama dropped me and my sister near the building to pick up the robes and we ran as fast as we could even without the prepared umbrellas. The rain wasn’t that strong anymore.
It seems like yesterday that my sister and I were running through the Hogwarts-like building with her instructing me to “Go left!” “Straight!” “Right in that corner!” in our dress shoes mind you. Ate was even wearing heels, imagine that!
When I got to the room to pick up the robes, I was the first of the latecomers. I was panting and in a hurry to wear my robe. My sister helped me with the robe and told me to relax and that I am not the only one who was late. She lead me to the ushers and from there the ushers reassured us, latecomers, that we are going to graduate because we were there. I thanked my Ate and she left to go look for Mama and Papa.
The usher asked me what number was I assigned to and I told him that I was somewhere in the 80's or 90's. He was surprised and said that the people in those numbers are probably in the hall right now but I need not to worry because they’ll make sure when my name is called I’ll be there in the lineup. Thinking back on this, I wish I had the usher’s name because he was very friendly and he did manage to keep me, no everyone, calm because he did his job so well. I even remember a girl in our line saying that she was crying on her way here thinking that she wouldn’t graduate. Thank you Mr. Usher, sir, for turning that around.
So there I was, marching with the rest of the latecomers at the very end of the graduates line. At least I get to march. And as I entered the graduation hall, my heart was racing. This is it. We made it. The ushers lead us to a specific section and was instructed to follow them when our names are up next.
Long story short, I was able to attend my graduation ceremony and graduate. And when my name was called, even though the pronunciation was in no where near the right one, I wanted to cry because I was just thankful of everything God gave to me and that He made a way for me to experience my graduation.
I never expected to graduate from University of Toronto. I never expected to graduate with distinction. I never expected any of this but God made it possible.
As I climbed up the stairs to the stage, the Dean congratulated me and asked me “What’s next?”
And honestly, I did not know what to answer him but I remembered awkwardly answering him “Work. Work. Definitely get a job.” Something like that. It was definitely not the greatest answer.
And this question is definitely in my mind even three months after graduation. What now? What was next?
To be continued…