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I'm trying not to approach graduation from a complete 'poor me' angle but I'm having some difficulty remembering that commencement is just a silly ceremony you go through so that your friends can officially congratulate you. in fact my bachelor's ceremony was a complete anticlimax precisely because I spent it with my parents, who really hadn't done a whole lot to help me out but were the default choice for whom to invite.

this one might be parent-free, but catherine is coming, lisagail is coming, hugo/ute is coming, and I don't know yet about a few other people. this one should be much more fun.

so why am I bummed out that I can barely afford all the trappings? I bought unpersonalized announcements that I can print out my own cards with my name and fancy title for, which saved a little, but I remember when I started here I looked forward to the day I could get that beautiful blue doctor's gown and there simply is no way I can afford one, so we'll be renting the black one. I could buy a hood and/or the tam (the funny hat doctoral grads get to wear) but they each cost about $130. I can rent a hood, but unless I buy a tam I have to wear the plain old mortarboard that all the undergrads wear.

so I'm going to see if I can buy a tam after next payday, but I don't know if they are specially made or if they simply have them in stock, so I'm hoping I'm not too late.

I guess I feel like most people have help with this stuff, although I don't know the extent to which that is really true. I do know the younger you are and the more money your family makes the more likely you are to get the blue gown.

but we're all getting the same degree. I realize that life is unfair but it this is just one of those little annoying things that remind me of what I do not have and of the sizable class differences in higher education. I'm not working class exactly--unless "clerk class" is part of that--but this just puts the cap on a number of little shoves that you get used to in academia if you aren't born to the elite. that and mom are pissing me off.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
expanding_x_man
Apr. 11th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)
"Clerk class" might be part of working class; class is somewhat nebulous in some ways in the USA... I feel "mixed-class", although the truth is I am "mostly" working-class as neither of my parents has a college degree, and my mom worked for the phone company (doing investigations on credit card fraud) and my Dad was in the Army enlisted, and then -- worked for the federal government as an Immigrations Officer (shh... don't tell anyone! ) --

Anyway, Dad retired from the military into a very Upper middle-class neighborhood, so that's why it's mixed. Mom did get two years of college - you know against great odds as American Indians in Canada at that time - were not ALLOWED to go past eighth grade. Her dad had to pay the rest of it, he was prosperous for an Indian (or maybe anyone)- had a big ranch.

Anyway, it makes me sad to read this, although the trappings of graduation aren't as important as the fact that damn! You are getting that PhD - you did it! Wow! : )

If I had the bucks, I would throw you enough for a tam, but I'm broke these days!

You could just buy me a beer in return... : )

If you have any after-graduation beer parties (so to speak) let me know and I"ll show up!
eriktrips
Apr. 16th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC)
thanks Max, that's really sweet. there will be parties after the actual filing of the dissertation this summer; as is I might have to leave commencement early to go write! o_O

just kidding there.

say if you want to come you are welcome too. it's only five bucks but I have to know by the end of this month cause you have to get the tix beforehand. it's bound to be a real head-nodder of a ceremony--no I mean head-turner!

really it will be as boring as any commencement you've ever been to. I watched my dad get his master's degree when I was about 9 and I fell in love with 'pomp and circumstance' and started humming it all the time.

I was a weird kid.
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