Last night, along side of Sheryl’s family I got to celebrate her graduation. Needless to say it was an exciting and chaotic moment.
Yesterday Sheryl joined me as Mason Alumni and I could not be happier to see her complete this chapter of her life and move on to the next.
Unlike just about every other school around, Mason’s midyear graduation is a “reception” not an actual ceremony. There is no cap, no gown, no guest speaker and no nervous walk across the stage. Instead there was a hall, a hall full of graduates and proud family members, friends and loved ones that were being herded around like cattle.
The reception was scheduled to run from 4 to 6pm, so I got off work at 3pm to ensure I would have more than enough time to make the 30 minute drive. I got stuck in traffic.
Sheryl and I have spent the last, maybe two years dominating communication classes together, being one another’s moral support and constant reminder of assignments that were due. Together we struggled through a 300 level history class about Modern China, she even sat outside the professors office as I “debated” the grade on my paper with him and his grading style for over a half hour. We got bagels, coffee and red bull just about every day and every so often we would wonder to the parking lot between classes to decide that the walk back was just too long to make.
We both came to Mason as transfer students; we both had a few college credits, college and life experience under our belts. We were (and still are) two completely different people who began talking because of a mutual friend – then one day in a 7pm class, we walked in, sat down and looked at each other. I am pretty sure our reaction was something like, “Wait, you are in this class too?!” (We had been in class together for at least a month before we realized this.)
From that point on our college “career” was spent at each other’s side. I think just about every semester after that point Sheryl had me make her schedule to ensure a) she would graduate and b) we would have classes together.
The first semester I scheduled us a class together at 10am – Sheryl was always late. From that point on, we did not take a class together at started before noon.
With a few extra credits under my belt, I made my walk across the stage in the Patriot Center this past May. Sheryl had one semester of summer classes and one fall semester to make it through without me, I knew she could do it though.
Yesterday, after countless days of being late, numerous classes skipped and a handful of vlogs under her belt – Sheryl showed up to her graduation… late.
The reception was set to start at 4pm, which is when myself and hundreds of others finally made it to the Mason Inn.
At 4:07pm I sent Sheryl a string of text saying where I was parked and to call me when she made it there.
At 4:20pm I sent her this, “I’m outside the Mason Inn, can’t believe your late to your own graduation. I half expected it though.”
When she finally made it we headed in side; confused by the lack of order and direction Sheryl signed in and her Mom grabbed some snacks. We squeezed our way through the crowd, finally finding a chair to put our things down on. We snapped some photos, got some professional photos and finally made our way into the ballroom which had been too crowed previously to let anyone else in.
Suddenly the graduation music started playing. Everyone stood and cheered. I looked at Sheryl, “dude, I think you just graduated.” We had made it just in time.
Myself, Ryan, Sheryl’s boyfriend, and all of her family are endlessly proud of her (I am pretty sure none of us can really put it into words) – congratulations best friend, I knew you could do it.