I Went to Clemson

Clemson University
One Hundred Ninth Commencement
May 13, 2005

"There is something in these hills that brings together and binds together and holds together men and women of all persuasions, of all heights, sizes, weights, and cultural backgrounds-- something that cuts across every difference, spans every gap, penetrates every wall-- something that makes a man or a woman stand taller, feel better, and say with high pride to all within earshot...
I went to Clemson."
I graduated from Clemson. Wow. Graduation was at 2:30 for me. I thought I would be able to keep it together; and I did for the most part, but it really hit me as I was walking onto the floor at Littlejohn while the graduation song was playing. I teared up. I was so nervous for the entire 2 hours. When our row stood up to get in line, I kicked the chair at the end of the row. I was so afraid I was going to bust my ass, luckily I only stumbled a little. I got tunnel vision when the announcer said my name "Nicole Christine Cononie, cum laude." I just started walking and could only really see President Barker. My feet kind of slid out of my shoes but I kept them on thankfully. Three inch heels might have been a bad idea... so I shook Barker's hand and then the Dean of my college and walked back to my seat holding my diploma! Ahh! Yeah, I was a shaky disaster after that. Once everyone recieved their diplomas, Barker said "congratulations you are now Clemson Alumni." Enter tears. And then we sang the Alma Mater. Enter more tears. Then we did our "1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, C--L-E-M-S-O-N T-I-G-E-RRRRR-S!" And I cried for that too. I didn't think I'd be as emotional as I was. Then when I walked out and saw my family and Mom was crying - ahhh! So needless to say it was an emotional day. I'm so proud though. I am a college graduate! Do you know how fun it is to say that? And I got to turn my ring around. Now it faces everyone else. Sometimes I look down and see it facing the other way, and I'm just like "wow." It's a pretty cool feeling.
After graduation I went to eat with my family and then Erin's family had a little cookout celebration for a few of us - me, Erin, Emily, Megan, Joe, Michael, Matt, Zach and Senn. It was so nice to be able to just hang out with my closest friends. We went downtown afterward, but me, Megan and Joe got seperated from the rest because the line at Tiger Town was so long so we just went to Overtime. Zach joined us later. Megan wore her graduation robe out. Spaz. But then again, it's Megan and I'm almost not surprised. I wanted to dance so bad, but my legs hurt from standing and being so nervous all day that I just had to sit there. And I could barely drink because I had been so shaky all day.
So congratulations Clemson University Class of 2005. We did it! We really did it. I will start working toward my Master's in August so I guess I am not technically done with school, but I have to admit it feels really good to have my Bachelor's degree sitting on my shelf, proudly displayed, for me to see anytime I like. Yep - Class of 2005. Wow.

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