I find it complete and utter irony that the ability to earn a college degree does not necessarily equal the ability to figure out how to arrange a hood in one's academic regalia. This is what I pondered the entire evening before the Baccalaureate service the night before Graduation. Seriously, the hood came with instructions on how to pull the back out to show the right colors in the right ways.
It included diagrams.
Hood drama notwithstanding, Baccalaureate was the night I was looking forward to even more than the morning of Graduation. It was the religious service recognizing our years at North Park. It seemed to have less glitz and glamour (well, less glitz and glamour than the North Park gym can have, at least) and a little more sincerity. It lived up to my expectations.
The service was held at Queen of All Saints basilica, a very Catholic church that very Evangelical North Park only uses for its Baccalaureate because it's so big. Irony? Perhaps. A good show of trans-denominational cooperation? That'd be fantastic! Either way, when Kasey and I saw President Parkyn and the Provost bowing to the Tabernacle, I leaned over and whispered a pithy comment in her ear, causing her to burst out laughing right as the room fell silent. Classic. I wouldn't have had the ceremony start any other way.
Mom and me, rocking that hood (at least from the front).
Dad deserved some honor cords as well, apparently. I'll let him use mine.
Three of the four roommates--Mari, me, and Amanda. We look like a shampoo commercial.
The beauty of Baccalaureate was that, unlike alphabetically arranged Graduation, we could sit next to whoever we so chose. So most of the original group from freshman year--Kasey, Mari, Taryn, Alethea, and I--held hands like kindergartners on a field trip to make sure we were in the same line and could sit together. It was lame, it was cheesy, it was altogether goofy, but then again, so are we, so it was fitting. And it was the best part of the night--making Kasey laugh on one side and Mari roll her eyes on the other. My personal highlight was catching the heel of my shoe in a grate on the floor right before I had to exit the pew, then walking into Mari on the aisle because Kasey's family was so hilariously distracting.
I will admit, I smiled more that night than I probably did on the day of Graduation. The initial chaos surrounding hood arrangement and finding friends in the sea of black robes was enough to distract us all, but finally walking into the church behind the North Park banner and after shaking President Parkyn's hand on the way in was enough to make me grin the entire way down the aisle.
After the service, we left to go find our favorite professors waiting for us outside on the steps, to go to mandated dinners with families, and to eventually skip post-Baccalaureate parties because it was all so tiring. I think a moment Kasey and I had before the service sums it up best: between posing for pictures for Alethea's Yaya and Mrs. Conrad, Kasey looked around and then at me, "Cindy, we're not old enough for all of this." I nodded, "Nope. We're not." We looked around, smiled, and grabbed onto each other for dear life, ignoring the ticking clock that counted down the seconds until "goodbye".