Behold! A gift wrapped entirely with hoarded scraps of wrapping paper, ribbon, and packing materials! Take that, husband who said I’d never use them! Hey, I get it, it’s not the prettiest gift in the world, I may not be THE BEST at this. Although, who am I to say, maybe I am the best at this? It’s settled, I am.
This is my college graduation program. Why would I want to throw this away? Read on, if you don’t mind being incensed on behalf of a 22-year-old me!
I’m taking you back to a much simpler time. It’s the 90’s. I am still loving Def Leppard and Patrick Swayze even though most people have moved on. I am a senior nearing graduation. I decide to do my final 3 credits as an internship the summer after my fourth academic year and graduate with those people. Sure, I could have taken more than 12 credits per semester (plus 6 each summer) and graduated earlier, but then I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the outstanding grades I had there near the end.
Okay, so I’m graduating, and I decide I’ll go ahead and walk mainly because my mother would be in attendance and my cousin Doug was graduating at the very same time. Now, I was in Orlando schlepping sandbags for Universal Studios all summer… not as drop-dead Hollywood glam as I thought a movie studio in Orlando Florida would be. But I did get to do crowd control for the John Stamos Beach Boys and, separately, escort Cathy Moriarty to the bathroom.
I mention my terribly glamorous Orlando summer, as I had to apply for selection to the “Outstanding Graduating Senior Leader” from my remote, fabulous location. I thought I was fairly worthy of consideration: I not only had a high honors-level GPA I somehow managed to pull out of the toilet, but I was also an officer in my sorority, the Creative Director for our big homecoming show, a student tour guide on campus, and a member of the prestigious Florida Blue Key leadership honorary. Also, I once took an underprivileged kid to a basketball game and paid for his snacks.
I knew I wouldn’t be the one top girl selected — I am ambitious but always a realist. I had a feeling I might be one of the extra few that got “Honorable Mention” — and I was! Despite the rarity of such occurrences, I truly love being awarded for things and this was no exception.
So on graduation day in Gainesville, with my mother, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins in the stands somewhere, I opened my booklet and skipped right to the Honorable Mention page.
Say what now?
I couldn’t believe I was left off the program! How could they do this to me?! I had given this school my most! I had lobbied the Dean of the journalism school to change the AM radio station to this thing called ‘alternative’; I had only cheated on two tests, and just slightly; and, like I said, I bought that poor kid popcorn. What the hell?
After placing more than one fact-finding phone call, I was sent a form letter saying a few people were left off the Honorable Mention list in the graduation program, and sorry. Oh, but, this! Would! Not! Stand!
I fired off a letter — you heard me — to the Dean of Student Services.
It’s truly cringe-worthy stuff. Especially the line “Needless to say, the magnitude of my embarrassment, anger, and frustration was without precedent.” This so isn’t true — I had some jerk guy make me feel this way just weeks before! “I can hardly believe a gross error such as this could be possible.” Take that, dumbasses! I hope some fat cat program typesetter gets fired!
The one line I still stand by: “As students, we would surely be judged more harshly if we forgot a brief list of names.” There’s me. There I am!
So, keeping this program (plus insert) keeps this upsetting memory and its ridiculous aftermath alive. But I do like that I didn’t take it lying down, which I hate to admit I do now mostly.