It was a bright, clear, mild Sunday morning. Thousands filed into a modest, rectangular, urban-gray building known as the GSU Sports Arena. Most were there to commemorate the end of a journey begun four or more years before.
I was among the number, capped and gowned in black, waiting for my full name to be read at near-auctioneer speed. Proceed in line, right hand shake the president’s hand, left hand receive from him what I’d worked all those years for. Some deride it as “just a piece of paper,” but I’d never say so. That morning in downtown Atlanta, 15 years ago today, I became a Bachelor of Arts. Today, I’m just a bachelor, doing precious little to practice my art.
I had just begun a job as a repographic engineer (that would be someone who makes photocopies all day) working at a large downtown law firm, making $8.00 an hour and feeling rich. After all, gas sold for a mere $0.699 a gallon that week. The future was bright; what could be better than having just earned a degree in English at the height of the dot-com boom?
Oh what a difference a decade and a half make. The end of the year and the beginning of a new one is always a reflective time, but thinking of this milestone today has me feeling even more introspective than usual. Coincidentally, I received perhaps my last-ever paycheck for teaching public school today. Seems I have much to write about…
Next time. For now, enjoy the #1 song in the USA the week I graduated: