Graduation from Yale Divinity School (or rather, walking and a degree IOU)

Family and friends

For the terminal days of my New Haven time in life, my parents and brother were able to make it out from our home in northeast Ohio (my sister was on week 3 of her new job, her first salaried gig after graduating college, so she rightfully stayed home and kept her new job!).  My parents took a few days of work off, and drove down with a U-Haul trailer to whisk away most of my crap to the house, for my later perusal.

My parents and I

My parents and I

My brother actually participated in the Tough Mudder on Sunday in Ohio, at which point he got the mohawk to help raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project that shall be seen below:

Steven with his Tough Mudder haircut, and I

Steven with his Tough Mudder haircut, and I

I owe my parents a lot for the entirety of my life and their support throughout; and my brother for his friendship and then being willing to walk up and down the big hill with the Divinity School, to take photos with my camera (even though he was rather banged up from the Mudder)!  More generally, it was just fantastic to be with my family again after having last been home in March – and so with their arrival Sunday night, it was officially time to Gradumicate.

Marching down town for the Overall Yale Event

Preparing for the march down the hill do the Old Campus

Preparing for the march down the hill do the Old Campus

The first event of the day was the gathering of all of Yale’s various undergrad and grad schools, to the largest quad on Old Campus, to have the deans each approach the president of Yale to get the Yale Corporation’s approval for the graduating process to come.  The Divinity School processed down the hill, led by some sort of elderly hippies with drums and tamborines, and the intended joyous spirit (which caught up some of our peers) also looked really unprofessional and out of place at Yale’s graduation to outsiders:

The hippie folk who played loud drums in front of our procession and further tarnished the reputation of YDS in the eyes of the rest of Yale, yay!

The hippie folk who played loud drums in front of our procession and further tarnished the reputation of YDS in the eyes of the rest of Yale, yay!

Thankfully, I walked with friends like Chris, who share a very suspicious opinion (at best) of the sorts of choices like the above, made by many of our peers from YDS in representing YDS.

Instead, Chris and I are of the church of the Batman:

My good friend, Bruce "Chris P" Wayne

My good friend, Bruce “Chris P” Wayne

We were seated on the quad according to when each school was founded – and given that Yale was founded as a seminary, we had the best seats in the house – both for the actual stage and then for the largest screen in the quad, so we could see details of the Yale-King’s actions:

The Yale-King used his Yale Scepter and officially made the Divinity School graduate.

The Yale-King used his Yale Scepter and officially made the Divinity School graduate.

The best part of the whole experience down town, in my opinion, was when an honorary doctorate was given to Ralph Stanley, a very frail elderly man who was a key player in the development of bluegrass in this country for some 50 years.  As the president reached the end of his brief bio, the School of Music players and their dean began to softly play on a banjo and accompanying music, and the volume got louder for a brief bit of time – and it really seemed to touch Stanley’s heart, and had a similar effect on the assembled crowd.

Our seatmates behind us were school of architecture folk, who had all sorts of angry atheist things to say when there was an invocation, benediction, and three separate hymns sung – but as the school is older than the United States, it is unlikely those traditions will change any time soon.

The Divinity School’s smaller gradumacashun

We hiked our way back up the hill (with some of our peers and indeed the faculty stopping at the ubiquitous food carts to get food prior to the next event), and eventually processed up to the chairs set out in the quad before the Marquand Chapel.

Processing up to the seating in the Sterling Quad, for the final graduation event

Processing up to the seating in the Sterling Quad, for the final graduation event

We were rather blessed to have such lovely weather, albeit slightly windy – but it made a beautiful setting for a much-anticipated end to this chapter of my life.

The good dean, dean'ing on the gorgeous day we had

The good dean, dean’ing on the gorgeous day we had

Eventually, I got to walk my way up those steps and shake hands with the dean, to get my photo taken and have officially walked at Commencement #313 for Yale…

I officially got a thing...

I officially got a thing…

… but, given that my summer of 2014 will be spent doing my internship requirement for the Master of Divinity degree (as the Fall 2013/Spring 2014 internship I had set up ended up falling apart because of my shoulder injury and the accompanying surgeries and healing), I got a slightly different piece of paper in my sleek Yale-branded folder:

... but as you can likely tell, I still have the summer 2014 internship ahead of me, prior to fully graduating.

… but as you can likely tell, I still have the summer 2014 internship ahead of me, prior to fully graduating.

Can you tell which one is mine, above, if you didn’t read the names?? 🙂

A lovely day, all told

As the afternoon deepened, I realized how exhausted I was, and I knew my family was as well from their trip – and we were also all rather hungry!

Matt, myself, and Chris - the three Lutherans who did a Visiting Student Day over 3 years ago, and we made it through the experience only partially scathed!

Matt, myself, and Chris – the three Lutherans who did a Visiting Student Day over 3 years ago, and we made it through the experience only partially scathed!

I said some goodbyes to my closest friends of the past three years, and slowly made my way down to the sidewalk and thus towards the car.

My good friend Emma and I doing a non-acted "this is how we really feel about this place" photo, for posterity.

My good friend Emma and I doing a non-acted “this is how we really feel about this place” photo, for posterity.

I wanted to take my family to Plan B Burger in Milford, a place I have referenced here before, and we went forth and had a delicious meal indeed.  During the course of the meal, the 2 months without a break finally hit me and I realized – the afternoon spent packing my remaining belongings I had planned was simply not viable.

My dad and I, on our way off the quad and towards a celebratory meal

My dad and I, on our way off the quad and towards a celebratory meal

What did the House of Repas do, then?

We had a great meal, and all vacated New Haven for their hotel, wherein we all passed out by 6:45pm and slept through until 7am or so, to prepare us for the (longer than expected, it turned out) day of packing ahead.

My mug shot made the wall, so it is official (even if I have an internship yet to do, to fully finish the degree)

My mug shot made the wall, so it is official (even if I have an internship yet to do, to fully finish the degree)

All told,  then, I am very thankful to have had the opportunities I had and the like, but (as I shall explore in the post after this one), the school and town alike were not especially good fits for me – so graduation day, even if only to get my official-looking Yale Divinity School IOU “degree,” was a happy day indeed – a day to celebrate the good things received and learned over three years, but especially to celebrate the end of one chapter of life and the start of the next!

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