Thoughts on graduating

Three years ago I did something I never thought I’d do again: I went back to school.  To seminary, in fact, to earn my masters and fill in all of the educational blanks in my mind that were there.

12 years ago, I graduated college with two bachelors degrees, and I remember the craziness of that day.  Like many graduations, that one was about change, transition, moving on.  I was leaving my home for the past five years and starting out in “the real world,” so to speak.  It was a nice ceremony, but like with most moments where I’m ready to move on, it felt surreal.

Today, after three years of additional schooling, I got up in front of a small crowd with 30 of my fellow classmates — spanning all manner of age, gender, race and quirkiness — and was hooded as a Masters of Arts in Christian Education.  With honors, I was surprised to find out (I don’t really pay attention to my transcript).  And again, it felt surreal.  Not because I was moving on, this time, but because I’d more or less gotten used to being a student again.

It’s weird how that all comes back, but it does.  And like I tell all of our teens going to college, it makes a world of difference when you’re studying something you actually want to learn instead of merely have to learn.  As tiring as the late hours, the homework, and the time away from my family was, I did enjoy the fellowship of my classmates, the discussions that we had, and the exploration of our faith.

I don’t necessarily feel smarter than I did three years ago, although I know I’m more equipped now than I used to be.  My thought was that if I was going to teach something as important as this, I wanted to make sure I got it right.  But I’ve been in perpetual awe of the folks I’ve met who have an encylopedic knowledge of verses and facts, of the folks who have incredibly moving personal testimonies (in particular a guy named Joe, who escaped civil war in Africa to come over here to get his degree so that he could go back and minister to the region), and of the honesty that was shared.  Ministers, like everyone else, are weird, faulty, frail, and sometimes broken people, so it’s good to hear that I’m not alone on that front.

I certainly owe a lot of thanks to the encouragement from friends and family over the past couple years.  Some of them made it up this weekend, and we’re celebrating.  I was a bit miffed that — yet again — they forbade us from tossing our caps in the air.  Is this just a TV thing?  I’ve never been at a graduation where people throw their hats in the air.  I want to.

So anyway, I graduated, and life as I know it… will remain more or less the same with fewer classes.  Huzzah!

15 thoughts on “Thoughts on graduating

  1. Grimfire May 21, 2011 / 3:52 pm

    Congratulations, Syp! Earning your Masters is quite an achievement.

  2. Skron May 21, 2011 / 4:11 pm


  3. paeroka May 21, 2011 / 4:18 pm

    Congratulations! 🙂 *throws confetti*

    I’ve also recently graduated. Oddly enough, there’s no ceremony at all. Some of us are currently organising something for us in June (probably barbecue at a public place or so), so that we have *something* to close that chapter of our lives. I also don’t even know when I’ll get my official diploma. Only got a temporary one so far. So it somehow doesn’t feel like I’m done.

  4. Moxie May 21, 2011 / 4:40 pm

    When I graduated from college (a large state university) they told us “not” to throw our hats, but well, when you have about 4,000 grads & their families filling a small stadium, the grads do what they want to. Of course FINDING your hat after the toss was like finding a needle in a haystack… I ended up just grabbing a tassel off of one and leaving the hat behind.

    Grats on your graduation though! That’s awesome! WOOT! 😀

  5. mbp May 21, 2011 / 6:57 pm

    Congratulations Master Syp. Well done.

  6. Angry Gamer May 21, 2011 / 7:10 pm


    I am envious that you had additional classwork in Christian Studies. That is one area I frankly wish I had more of after undergrad.

    An Irish Blessing to you

    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back,
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
    And, until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

  7. Shawn May 21, 2011 / 8:00 pm

    Congrats Sypster!

  8. Sharon May 21, 2011 / 8:04 pm

    Congratulations Syp!

  9. Arieltalia May 22, 2011 / 12:05 pm

    I think the reason for not throwing caps is that “you’ll poke your eye out”.

    Congratulations, Syp! At 48, I’m considering going back to school myself, but to a trade school for jewelry repair. After getting a degree in Fashion Design I soon found out that I hated the garment industry, and have been drifting in secretarial work ever since. Drifting in some pretty impressing places, I must say so myself, but drifting nevertheless, as my heart has always been in creating things with my hands.

    Then I got fibromyalgia, and I haven’t worked since 2005. God has recently answered my prayers to heal my sickness, but at the cost of my marriage.

    Taking that first step seems to be the hardest, as I’m sure you well know.

  10. Renquin May 23, 2011 / 1:58 am

    Congrats Syp!

  11. Caliburn May 23, 2011 / 6:13 am

    “Master Syp” … that sounds good. Just dont try to get your wife calling you Master. Bad Idea, trust me 😉

    Congratulations Syp.

  12. Gobsmacked May 23, 2011 / 8:37 am

    Congratulations Syp!

  13. Jonathan B May 23, 2011 / 8:56 am

    Congratulations from here too! Well done!

  14. Vesta May 23, 2011 / 12:05 pm

    Congrats, Syp! Its certainly another milestone to have finished your Masters degree… Well done, ser! I recently had the opportunity to return to my Seminary and participate in their Grad ceremony to welcome them as Alumni. It was weird putting on the gown again, and being “hooded”. (Never thought I’d wear it again!) It really brought be back to my grad day, and I was ill prepared for the emotions it stirred up, so I can relate afresh to your thoughts in your post.


    -John Bth, MTS

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