This week, I will attend my (hopefully) final graduation. Sadly, I'll be attending many more graduation ceremonies, just not mine. Actually, I'll probably find those more enjoyable, since I will have taught some of them prior to graduating. Nevertheless, my disdain for these ceremonies is well-known and deeply felt.
However, I am compelled to attend, primarily out of being voluntold to by my dear mother. Happy Mother's Day. So I will attend, and smile for the camera, and perhaps earn my third volume of Severe Convective Storms. This time, I am promised a hooding, which I guess is supposed to tantalize me into attending the ceremony. "You only get hooded once!" O....k, but doesn't that just mean I only get a Ph.D. once, which is not necessarily true anyway?
Graduation day, for me, has always been about the other people, not the one graduating. Commonly, this sort of thing would irritate me, but not in this case. Graduation is a process of community. Ultimately, it falls on the individual, but there is no way that individual can graduate without the love and support of his mentors, peers, and family. Graduation SHOULD be about the other people. It is an accomplishment for those who have helped almost as much as the graduate himself!
To this end, I wish to thank those who have helped me along the way. I'm pretty sure I would not have made it without my fellow graduate students. Who else would I get to complain to about the little things, or even the big things? Who else would I eat my second plate of Pad Thai, or third plate of fajitas at Chelino's, or fourth plate of everything at Himalayas? Who else would understand my rants on RKW theory, or on irresponsible storm chasing, or the latest bureaucratic nonsense at the Intergalactic Weather Center?
The administrative assistants deserve all the credit in the world. I'm not sure how often Celia or Nancy or Marcia or Judy or Becky saved my metaphorical behind, but I'm relatively certain the equivalent number of tropical cyclones in a year would require usage of some Greek letters no one has heard of. Anyone graduating anywhere should shake hands with the school staff and say thank you. You would not have made it without them, even if you didn't know it.
Having mentors as wonderful as mine is not just a rarity, but an absolute privilege. There is no question that the quality of my advisors was instrumental in me getting to where I am. Lance, Mike, Chuck -- thanks for everything. In particular, for still putting up with me.
And to my family -- especially my dear mother. This one's for you.
So I will attend graduation, smile for the cameras, receive...something, and go on my merry way. I'll do this for you, because you've earned it. All of you.