Pomp and Circumstance

graduation regalia

graduation regalia

Last week I walked in the graduation ceremony for the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. The sun was hot, the shoes were painful, the cap was itchy, and speeches long (some of them) and it was absolutely wonderful!

Even with all the technological and societal advances that have happened since the graduation ceremony was defined, there is still something so meaningful and honoring about this tradition.  Though I officially graduated in March, it wasn’t until I picked up my masters regalia that it hit me, “I have a graduate degree.”  While I’m still glad I opted for the smaller department ceremony,.as opposed to the school wide ceremony which is ludicrously large, nothing could have been a better close to the grad school experience.

My only regret about the ceremony was the keynote speaker—though I must admit, there is an almost delicious irony about the highly credentialed honored alumnus being a really terrible public speaker! I lost track of the number of times she said “one more thing,” and “the one thing I want to leave you with,” “the real point is.”  The real point was that our degree is very valuable and with it we can solve any problem we dream of solving.  I had just the night before spent a few hours doing some public speaking training with a team at my church, and we spent a lot of time talking about knowing how to end/exit. Or, as our pastor said, how to “land the plane.”  Unfortunately I felt our keynote speaker hadn’t quite mastered that maneuver yet.

So now that I am officially a master (of communication, if you were wondering), what does that really mean? What did I learn?  First off, I learned that I’m an educated adult who does, really, know what she’s talking about.  Therefore I never have to feel like I don’t measure up, or don’t belong in a room full of “experts.”  This might seem like an odd thing to learn in a grad school marketing class, but education is always—at every level—more about discovering who we are and what we can do and why and when we should do it than about anything else.  I also learned about how to plan a marketing campaign, a mobile integration strategy, a business plan, a content strategy, and how to lead people without stepping on toes (I will say that some people have especially big toes). All of which I value very much!

So what am I going to do with all of this… stuff that I’ve learned?  Well now… that IS the question of the hour, isn’t it?  Stay tuned to find out!


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