In which Deb Kristina turns her tassel

kris_grad_smallHere I am, in 1996, minutes after graduating from Michigan State University. I’d been trying to find my family – this was before everyone had a cell phone to track each other down, we had to actually search – and when I spotted them, I came running and struck a pose: Ta da! I did it! That’s my soon-to-be husband, there, laughing at my goofball joy.

I look like something out of High School Musical: Senior Year.

I remember that moment so clearly. I’d finished my schooling at last, lined up a very good internship and I felt confident I’d get some kind of real job after that. Also, because I’d been lucky enough to meet my One True Love early in life, I was getting married in exactly seven days.

In my mind, I went from a college kid in a baggy plaid shirt and Chuck Taylor sneakers to a professional woman and a wife in the turn of a tassel. I’d done it, become a true adult at last, achieved everything I wanted to and of course that trend would continue, right?

That naive kid waving her mortar board in this picture thought she had it all figured out. She was excited , optimistic and ready to storm the world with her B.A. in journalism. (Ha! Lot of good that does me, now.)

As an older, wiser, more cynical woman (still wearing Chuck Taylors, though) I have to confess I miss that triumphant optimism. With the economy circling the drain and the related worries of home ownership and child rearing, I wish I could capture that gleeful “ta da” feeling again. I suppose it’s gone forever, along with my curly perm and my beloved hot pink tie-dyed oversize t-shirt.

The next chance I have to feel anything close to this is my book launch, particularly the reading at my hometown bookstore, Schuler Books. It’s a graduation of sorts, isn’t it? An achievement after years of hard work and effort?

Ta da?

p.s. Just for fun, this is a picture of my dad, graduating from Michigan State exactly 30 years before I did, in 1966. He’s posing like a hood ornament on his ’59 Mercury. You can barely tell from looking at it this size, but down by his foot, the actual hood ornament is one of those fuzzy haired troll dolls.


10 Replies to “In which Deb Kristina turns her tassel”

  1. Becky, why yes it is. Here’s how big of a nerd I am: the white sash is for the Honors College, and the yellow cords were for my grade point, whichever kind of “laude” that was (not the highest, the second highest? Something like that.) Between the green gown, yellow cords, white sash and the red tassel (for journalism school) I looked like a Christmas tree.

    Eliza, thank you! We tore apart our basement storage area this week to find these pictures. I’m glad we did, because I found lots of other fun ones, too…

  2. I think it’s a resounding Ta-da–no question–to have your launch happening in just a few short weeks, Kristina! And I hope you’ll have the same wonderfully triumphant feeling as your graduation. After all, you’re using your writing degree every day to write words that move your readers and you’re still married to the same great guy–so you were right to feel so great on graduation day. It was the start of something special!

  3. Lovely family graduation traditions and I’m certain your father felt as optimistic as you did, Kristina. But life’s great achievements are not behind you for the best is yet to be!

  4. Kris those pictures are perfect. You’ve captured the TA-DA feeling of graduation and feeling like you’ve got your life on track … even if later on you look back and realize that well, maybe the track was going to get a bit curvy later on. And now on to your next graduation of sorts … your launch! May it be just as triumphant!

  5. Katie, I know! I thought I knew everything…I wonder what my 50-year-old self will think of my 34-year-old self. I’m sure I’m still an idiot in many respects.

    Aww, thanks Meredith! I hope so, too.

    Tiffany, aren’t they great? I tore my house apart looking for that photo of me, and when I ran across my dad’s (I found it ages ago at my parents’ house and asked to keep it) I had to use that one, too.

    Thanks, Larramie! I used to try to imagine my future life but now I know better than to try… It’s better to take it as it comes, I think.

    Eve, the track was curvy! That’s a great way to put it.

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