It’s not my story to share except from the sidelines of the support team. So that’s the direction I will follow and share my perspective and history in regards to convocation. 35 years ago this June I sat on stage at my convocation with 90 other nurses. A different era as the picture will attest to with its 1980s graininess. I wouldn’t have missed a chance to walk across the stage and get my diploma, flowers and repeat the nurses pledge. It was part of a long line of milestones that we checked off on our path to become a nurse. My parents made the 10 hour trek and I am sure they felt quite proud of me. Two weeks earlier I had sat beside my future in laws as they proudly watched their youngest cross the stage for his engineering degree (with distinction). I didn’t go that route and indeed 3 weeks later found out that I had failed one of my 5 national exams (psychology) but that is a whole other story.
Perhaps though it speaks to why I thought it so important that our daughter cross the stage for her degree. University, on some levels, had been a difficult path for her. Two years of general studies without a specific direction which was followed by a couple of years working. 3 years then working hard to get a degree in agriculture business. During that time she has faced several difficult losses on a personal level and worked part time to help fund her way. Plus she’s not a people person and the masses at class never sat well with her. So the convocation itself was probably sheer hell as it was long and crowded. I think perhaps, in another few years, she will forgive me for making her “waste her time” and attending. At least we had a great time taking photos before and perhaps someday she will see the irony in the Portland Cement address. I must admit the guest speaker was dry as dust but I thought it was entertaining that he spoke about Thorvaldson and perhaps it might have triggered on a few who the building was named for. I was surrounded by two civil engineers so they were “riveted” to their seats remembering classes I am sure and learning about the qualities of cement.
For me convocation day was filled with pride and joy. It filled my heart to the brim during the photos with her awesome smile and pretty hair. At the auditorium we sat with our wonderful friends and watched their youngest walk across the stage for his engineering degree. We watched the future of our province unfold on the stage as we saw other accomplished young friends convocate as well. It gave me another level of appreciation for what the University of Saskatchewan stands for. The day was celebrated with a family supper and then capped off with ice cream from the Dairy Queen on 8th street which is a long standing family tradition. Maybe that’s why it was all so important to me — tradition. The symbolic acts that make up our life along with the daily little reminders about how precious life is.