I can't wait to hug my family, snuggle with my friends, have a few river adventures, tailgate game or two, build the perfect bloody mary, not check my work e-mail, and meet a beautiful 2 week old baby boy.
Well, it actually happened eight weeks ago. Let's start at the beginning, shall we...
Remember back in April 2010, when I posted about "The News," as I then called it (damn was I dramatic). I had gotten into The Masters of Professional Studies Program at The George Washington University. And with that admissions letter, my decision about graduate school was made. I quickly flipped the bird to NYU, and kindly sent my regrets to the other schools I had gotten into. I spent the next four months attempting to get a plan together, to get out to the East Coast. Only about half that planning time was well spent; I moved to Alexandria, VA in August with no job, but a great apartment. I spent the next six weeks jobless, exploring the city before I landed a job that started out great, and quickly derailed itself and became the crazy train.
But back to school...Classes started up right before Labor Day 2010, and from day one I knew I had made the right decision. It had picked the right school. I had picked the right degree. I had picked the right city. Whew. And from that point on, honestly, it's been quite the blur. For the two years of my program, I took all my classes at night and worked full time+ during the day. I took classes in everything book related - from production and paper, to marketing and sales. I learned how to create a viable business model, estimate a print run for a book based on a mirad of factors, and how to give a killer book pitch presentation.
But I can't take credit for that last one all on my own...About a third of the way through the program I teamed with with two of the most fantastic, brilliant, and hard-working women I have ever met. (One of them was such a hard working multi-tasker that she decided having a baby and finishing a Masters program was a totally viable idea. My dear friend Erin, on the right of the photo below, was 9 months pregnant at graduation. A baby and a kick ass GPA! Nice work.) I would not have been nearly as successful in this program without Erin and Liz. We are all hyper-organized, extremely thorough, borderline-OCD book publishing nerds. And I couldn't be more proud of us and our little company we built from scratch. I hesitate to call it a fake company, because in our hearts Dirt Road Press is as real as any of our actual jobs. If anyone has some extra investment capital laying around, and they're interested in funding a start-up publishing company, have we got a sales pitch for you! To my DRP-ers: Thank you for everything. Literally, everything in the past two years. I wouldn't be writing this post without your constant support, friendship, and shared love of chips and salsa.
Jumping ahead to graduation weekend this past May, I was trilled to have my mom, dad, and youngest brother, Ryan, come out to DC for the weekend. Note: I walked in the graduation ceremonies in May, although I'm technically a summer graduate and had two more classes this summer, hence the July post. The other half of the four pack (Carly and Matt) where off being their successful little selves in Paris and Tulsa (respectively), but they were there in spirit.
We were blessed with fantastic DC weather for both graduation ceremonies. That's right - twice the pomp and circumstance. Literally. Saturday night was a ceremony for my college; about 250 people, indoors, where we all got to walk across the stage. Sunday morning was commencement for the entire university, on the National Mall, and Brian Williams gave the commencement address. Both were amazing experiences I will never forget. And even though I didn't have an opportunity to walk across the stage on Sunday (as there were approximately 6,000 students in attendance for that one, no one walks across the stage that day), I will forever cherish and remember the entire experience. Being able to bask in the glory that is our nation's capitol (Literally. We were at the base of the Capitol.), one of the most predominant reasons why I choose to fo to GW in the first place, is a memory I will keep for a very long time.
I expect that it will take me a very long time to get used to the idea of not being in school. Not shopping for school supplies in September. Not heading to campus every night after work. I have been in school for almost my entire life, and I'm not entirely sure I know how to not be in school. But I've got the rest of my life to figure it out I guess.
And now it's time for the thank you's since I obviously could not have done this without a little help...
To my family - Thank you for understanding why I had to move 1,000 miles away to achieve my dream. I've never been more than a short plan ride away, but that doesn't mean I haven't missed you every day so far.
To my friends back home - You know who you are. I can't name names without bursting into tears over how much our continued friendship has helped me. Through road trips and races, blog posts and hours spent on the phone, we have managed to strengthen our relationships despite all the challenges of time and distance.
To my new friends on the east coast - Whether I met you at school, work, or the places in between, thank you for your support and understanding over the years. Now that school is done, I look forward to new masses of free time to discover the many wonders of this city with you all.
To my classmates - Remember that first semester, sitting in Arnie's class, and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into? Well, we've made through to the other side. It wasn't always easy, or fun, but I think looking back we can say it's wasn't all that bad either. Congratulations graduates! We are Masters.
So...enough with the mushy, sentimental stuff...let's celebrate. If you're reading this post on Thursday night, know that I literally just finished my final class and I'm off drinking champagne with friends. Happy graduation night to one and all!