I am not one who has much use for ceremony, but I did find quite satisfying my trip across the stage yesterday at the University of Toledo's John F. Savage Arena to be hooded by my advisor and to enjoy 15 seconds worth of public recognition for my PhD. I skipped my MA ceremony due to family and work obligations, but there was no way I was going to miss this moment.
After all, I re-ignited my academic journey almost a decade ago, and without question my pursuit of a doctoral degree was the most challenging sustained work in which I ever found myself. I have been enrolled in college full-time and non-stop (including summers) since 2001, and it was gratifying to hear my assembled posse holler when my name was announced.
Still, at the end of the day the diploma is just a piece of paper that merely opens a few more doors for me. Any successes I enjoy in life I owe more to my wife, family, and friends than to my own efforts, and it was through the process of seeing and hearing so many congratulatory comments that I was reminded how much I relied on the encouragement of other people along the way.
God, this post is sounding like another of those academic speech clichés.
I am mostly glad this is over, though I am still finding it difficult to be officially saying goodbye to the University of Toledo. So many friends, so many excellent instructors, and so many years of my life have been spent there, and though I have been itching to graduate, there will be some emptiness at leaving my academic home.