And Lo, a mere $15 (U.S.) stands between me and my diploma.
At 10:09 a.m. today, while I was finishing up the first of my two final exams, a kind, overworked staffer at the Student Academic Services office of the UH College of Arts and Sciences named Megumi I. Taniguchi sent me a brief e-mail:
Sorry I couldn't answer you sooner, but I wanted to re-check that you only needed 6 non-intro. credits again and also doublecheck with the last adviser who saw you. I was able to check with her this a.m. and we can confirm that you only need 6 non-intro. credits to graduate. Your packet will be out in at the service counter for pick-up. Make sure to turn in your graduation application and pay your diploma fee.
Of course, I didn't get that e-mail until after I'd finished up the four essays for my Witches and Witchcraft final, then headed over to take my final for Children's Literature. I didn't get that e-mail until I walked up the hill back to my van, fought with lunch-hour traffic on Nu`uanu Avenue, and got back to my office. But I was hoping that e-mail would be there, waiting. I've been hoping for three days.
I really tried to be simply relieved. After nine years, I figured, the news should be greeted with an emotion derived from a mixture of relief and exhaustion. Especially after the week I'd had, I was looking forward to simply being able to say, "Oh, good."
But, I was thrilled. I was giddy. I called mom immediately, and told everyone in the office. Then I joined mom and her coworker Herbert for lunch skipping in a most unmanly manner across King Street and gibbered at them ceaselessly.
That number six, not seven meant that they were wrong the first time; that I didn't need to take a three-credit course to get rid of one measly credit, and that I could just drop my weekend speech class (and save my family a world of Katie-trading trouble when Jen worked). More importantly it meant...
It meant that I was done. Today, I was done. The finals I took this morning, which I may not have aced but unquestionably passed, were the last academic exercises ever in my protracted undergraduate career.
I was useless at work, so despite my temporary residence in the proverbial doghouse, I begged out early. I zipped to Manoa, and literally ran across campus to Keller Hall to catch them before they closed at 4 p.m. Breathlessly I picked up my packet The Packet and flipped to the "Graduation Plan" page.
There were my three classes, REL 353, ENG 383, and SP 333, all with "NI" (non-introductory) checked, and the number nine in the "total credits" box. And there was an arrow, and Megumi's handwriting: "Student only needs 6 NI to graduate; may drop 1 class." In the "Adviser's Notes/Comments" box, she wrote: "Congratulations!" And underlined it.
"You can pay for this at the cashier's office in the Student Services Center," the helpful girl said. I thanked her, and ran back down the mall. My feet, trapped in stiff, flat, dress business shoes, ached, but I didn't care. I fingered the $20 bill in my pocket as I climbed the steps.
But the cashier's office was closed. It closed at 3:30 p.m. What kind of business office closes at 3:30 p.m.? (A state office, I know.)
Curses! Foiled, in the last stretch! I would, in fact, have to return to campus at least one more time Monday, at 8:30 a.m., to turn in my completed, signed, "Application for Degree."
(Of course, I suddenly felt like a guy who won a lottery but has to wait out the weekend before turning it in. I'm definitely going to be nervous around large vehicles, tall trees, and high places for the next few days.)
I headed back to Keller Hall, though, because I did want to drop my speech class. After getting there, though, the helpful girl directed me toward Krauss Annex, to the Outreach College office, which independently runs the summer school program.
So back once more down the length of the mall, through the Art Building, past Building 37 and Kuykendall Hall. I tried very hard to observe the campus with reverence, as I would finally be leaving it, but this afternoon the level of wistfulness I mustered could only be compared to that of a prisoner upon his much-delayed release.
I filled out the form, said that I understood I would be getting a "W," and in a matter of minutes with an unseen dean's approval the deed was done.
At this I did feel some sadness. I did like my storytelling class. It was small and warm and fun, and I would have enjoyed it all the way through the last class in August had I remained enrolled. I liked the instructor, Jocelyn Kaneshiro, and had already gotten to know my classmates Benedicto Diones Jr., Arnold J. Segusio, Jonathan Sox Yang, Lu Yi, Tony Yvonne Norman, Carrie Chun, and Rayjean T. Nakamura.
I loved them. I had nothing against them. But dammit, I was done.
Jen, Katie and I celebrated tonight. I surprised the both of them with a last-minute booking on Todd's catamaran (both Todd and Eathan remarked, "So you will graduate first after all!"). We watched the sunset over Honolulu and watched Katie dance the Macarena. Then I took everyone to Baskin & Robins for some ice cream. Then I drove home carefully to fawn over this little, carbon quadruplicate form (the last copy is, indeed, mine).
Yay for the graduate!!! It's so good to see you happy AND about-to-be with diploma in hand!!!
Claire (June 30, 2001 3:09 AM)
Good. It's about f--king time! (And I don't think I'm alone when I say that endearingly.) So, um, when do you move to the Mainland?
NemesisVex (June 30, 2001 3:21 AM)
Want me to lend you the garish, chartreuse, hoop earrings my daughter wore at her graduation? They made it quite easy for the family to find her!!! Either way, a BIG congratulations, Ryan. Now for the real world...full time!!!
Tutu Sue (June 30, 2001 8:37 AM)
Congratulations, Ryan! After all that trouble I'm glad it came out OK. Walk the line with pride (or are there commencement exercises for August grads?).
Keith (June 30, 2001 8:51 AM)
I'm with Greg. 'Bout ----ing time! :-) Congrats!
Dreama (June 30, 2001 3:44 PM)
Congratulations, Ryan!!! The $15 is worth it, worth it, worth it - I should know, I paid mine already. Does that mean we'll be marching together in August? Wait... I still have Sesssion II. Will check back wit'cha later on that one... but until then, CONGRATS!
Stella (July 2, 2001 4:07 PM)
Oh my Gooshness! It's actually going to happen? Congratulations, my friend! Now, I agree with Nemesis: When ya gettin' yer butts up here? cg /s
Lusus Naturae` (July 2, 2001 4:38 PM)
E kala mai! Comments have been disabled due to overwhelming abuse by spammers. Please click through to any of the video hosting services linked above to leave a public response, or feel free to send an e-mail. Mahalo!
© 1997-2008 Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org · Created: 13 November 1997 · Last Modified: 14 January 2008