I have graduated.
Graduating felt so good that honestly, I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want to attend their convocation. Okay, I can imagine a few, but the feelings of pride, happiness, accomplishment, and fulfillment was so overwhelming that two days ago I actually starting crying a little bit after I walked across the stage. Being recognized for all your hard work and shaking the hands of your favourite professors who are so proud of you is just so powerful.
As I sat in the Chan Centre on Wednesday, I thought about all the things that have happened in that hall. Hearing the Dean of Arts speak on Imagine Day and chanting our faculty cheers. My first orchestra rehearsal in which I was so scared I missed pretty much all of my entrances. Playing an opera in second year. Playing my very last orchestra concert, Mahler’s second symphony, receiving two standing ovations. Convocation. And later in the evening, playing a solo in the Baccalaureate Concert.
It has been such a wild ride here at UBC. If you’ve kept up with my blog, you’ll know that there have been bad times, including homesickness, disappointment, injury, and anxiety. But so many of the things I wanted from UBC came to me. I wanted to go abroad; at first I thought I wouldn’t be able to but was given the opportunity to go to Belgium for two weeks with the UBC Laptop Orchestra. I wanted to make the lifelong friends that everyone talks about making in college. It took me about six months but I found the friends that have been like family the last four years and who I am sure I will stay friends with for a very long time. I’ve always sort of imagined in the back of my head what it would be like to be a valedictorian, and although I wasn’t one, I was asked by the director of the School of Music to give a short speech at the music reception after the graduation ceremony. And since the first time I saw a picture of the Chan Centre, I wanted to play a solo on that stage. And I did on Wednesday night.
I would like to end this final post with a message to incoming students, or anyone who is a few years along and maybe feeling a bit lost:
Your time at UBC will be many things. It will be hard, it will be fun, it will be challenging, rewarding, lonely, and full of friends. There will be lows, yes, but there will also be such amazing highs! UBC really is a place where you can make your dreams come true, as corny as that sounds, if you know what you want and go for it. You might be homesick, or lonely, or be struggling with your schoolwork; you might even decide that UBC is not for you at all. Whatever your situation is, UBC has resources to help you and things always get better. There is so much opportunity for growth here; enjoy it while you can because it will be over before you know it.
When I arrived at UBC four years ago, I didn’t know a soul in the city and I was homesick and so scared I could barely eat. At my Imagine Day rally, President Toope said that he hoped UBC would become our home, or at least our second home. I thought, “That is NEVER going to happen.” Well, it did. It did, and now it’s time to say goodbye.
So long, UBC. It’s been rad.