Today, exactly one year AGO, I woke up to a gloomy day.
But it wasn’t just any day it was my graduation day from THE University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
It was the day that I became a graduate, an alumnae, shoot, an adult!
That was Sunday, May 8, 2011.
Thinking back to that day now, I remember it but it was really all a blur. I remember having my graduation party the night before, going to TopO that same night with friends and then waking up on Sunday morning to a gloomy day.
And a lot of stuff going on. Not only did I wake up later than I wanted to but the zipper on my dress didn’t work so I had to be sown into my dress, then my roommate and I still had to make our neon colored signs that would read “We ❤ You Mom!” and then walk up to the massive hill to Kenan Stadium to line up for the walk in. Yeah, a lot in a very short amount of time.
But thankfully, everything worked out. We all made it to the waiting around, took a few pictures and then we heard the music. And we walked. We walked down the stairs of Kenan Stadium and onto the bleachers and waited for our college graduation to begin.
Now I honestly don’t remember anything from the graduation speech since our speaker was an environmentalist from Harvard…so yeah, you can put two and two together on that one. I just remember sitting with my closest friends, the ones who had been there for the good times and the bad, holding our neon signs so our parents could find us, and of course, talking pictures and tweeting about how surreal it felt to be almost graduates.
I also remember how the sky never really changed, it was just a gloomy scene the whole morning until one moment. After our class representatives said there speeches and we were asked to stand to turn our tassel, something amazing happened. God showed us he was indeed a Tar Heel.
As our we turned our tassels to confirm our newly appointed alumni status, the clouds broke open and the sun shined down on all the graduates. And literally it was just our section that had sunlight touching our faces. That made my entire day and totally confirmed why the sky is Carolina blue…God is a true fan of the Heels! 🙂
Then, it happened. The one thing every UNC graduate looks forward and dreads the most…hearing Carolina in My Mind sung by the Clef Hangers. It’s THE song of Carolina and even though, James Taylor does a great job singing it, there is nothing like hearing the Clef Hangers sing in harmony to those words…“And I say, I’m going to Carolina in my mind.”
Tears didn’t come to my eyes but they came to those around me. All I could think about was, Wow, we did it, we really did it. I embraced all of them and knew that we would be ok, we were all destined for something great.
The rest of the day continued to be a blur of hugs, congrats, pictures, smiles, tears, laughs, jokes and memories. Memories of Carolina but then thoughts of the future.
My parents! ❤
I remember walking with my family to the Dean Dome to get ready for my School of Journalism graduation where along I ran into my FIRST roommate from freshman year. Now talk about crazy right? It was really a nice touch to a full day because on the day that I was ending my college career, I ran into someone whom I started it with.
Then it all started to hit me when I was waiting in line to go across the stage and get my certificate from the J-School. I was standing with friends and thinking, Ok this is it, this is it! And then called me…Kirstin Garriss. I walked with my head held high in my fierce four inch brown pumps and was so excited that I didn’t shake my Dean’s hand, I just gave her a hug! As I walked down the stairs and off the stage, I heard cheers from family and an “I see you KG!” from one of my best friends (who came all the way from Florida to see me graduate, by the way) and all I could do was smile.
Sunday, May 8, 2011 will be a day I will never forget. It’s day that will also have a special place in my heart. Yes, because it was a major accomplishment in my life but mainly because it was the end and the beginning at the same time. It was the end of several chapters…my childhood/teenhood, my college career, my life as I knew it. But it was the beginning of something even better…my life as I can’t expect it. Graduation was my pass into the real world, into life and now looking back a year later, it was the first chapter as me, Kirstin Garriss, the journalist. I’ve been waiting years to be called that, a journalist, and now it was here. That was me.
And today. Today is Tuesday, May 8, 2012. I have a job, I went to work, I was actually training one of two new people who just started the DA program and I’m a different Kirstin. I’m a Kirstin who’s evolved, grown, changed and stayed the same. I’m still a loving and caring friend, I’m still a die hard Tar Heel fan and I’m still a journalist. But now, I’m more independent, I’m more mature, I live on my own, I have more responsibilities…I’m a WORKING journalist. And I’m doing all the things I hoped I would and more.
Now that is a great way to celebrate an anniversary.
So to the UNC Class of 2011, I say, CONGRATS to us! We did it, we made it, we are alums and we’re making it!
Until next time,