Commencement was last weekend and though I'd made a big deal out of how anti-climactic participating in the ceremony would be, now that it's over, I am glad I walked. The ceremony wasn't unbearable; the recognition of my work over the last five years felt nice, redemptive. It felt like closure, which I did not realize I needed. But having fully "finished" at ISU makes it easier to think of myself as having completed a Ph.D. Though I admit, most days it seems unreal even when I see my diploma. What was especially sweet is that I could spend the experience with my parents and Matt and Joanna. I wish they'd been able to stay longer and I wish I lived closer, that I could drive over for the weekend and hang out. I miss being more involved in their day to day lives.

I did not expect to appreciate graduation or the big deal being made over it. But the weekend reminded me of all of my wonderful friends and family, all of the people who have seen me through this journey. So I'm grateful for that.

*Note: Matt and Joanna took many more pictures with their awesome Nikon camera. Thanks, guys.

The Fitzgeralds Me and Dr. K lining up for the "hooding" The Fitzgeralds