Thursday was UMBC’s graduation, and rather than wait in traffic to find a parking spot with increasingly grumpyproud parents, I stuffed my tam in my bag and rode my bike the 20 minutes down the hill, locked up precariously to a fence right outside the side door to the arena because that’s what the security guard told me to do, and headed inside to eat all the buffet lunches with my fellow faculty members. A. brought my sorcerer robes with her on the Circulator, and by the time she figured out how to get into the place, she was one angry pregnant lady with her eye on the food tables–she’s eating for two, so don’t fuck with her. We put on our outfits, filled our purses with cookies, took a dozen selfies, went to the bathroom six times each, and then we filed in for the big show. And it was big, and long, but full of stories of smart students sticking it out to graduate and heading off to do amazing things. I could have done with a few more stories about students making it through college and having no idea what they’re going to do next–nothing wrong with that, either, kids…it’s not a race–but hey, I get it. And then there were speeches and names called and jumping up and down to greet students and get more selfies and yay graduation! I snapped this picture near the end of the show. A. had left due to getting kicked too many times in the pelvis and J. had left due to his two hour parking and he has tenure, and I was sick from all the cookies, but it was time to stand up and sing the alma mater, introduced by Our Almighty College President (a seriously cool dude–look him up), so I did that. I know the words, having curled my voice around “…PROUDLY we hail to thee…” at more than my share of orientations, in a way that would make my father proud. And then it was over, and so many students I have gotten to know are on their way out. I got to meet a few parents, gush over a few graduates, and then it was back to the bike to snake my way through the “where do we eat?” crowds to home, another group to the wind. Good thing there’s always another class, or a teacher could get a little sad on a day like this.