On Wednesday June 14, 2006 I graduated from the University of Toronto after having been through seven years of study and three changes of program there. You know, a lot of people go to University for seven years. They're called doctors. (Thank-you David Spade
) Well, I'm not a doctor, not yet
anyhow, but I am just a little but proud of myself. And thankful, too. Not only to the University, who charged me the equivalent of a good down-payment on a house for my fancy piece of paper, and certainly not to the school's representative, who at the graduation ceremony urged me "not to forget" the school after graduation (read: not cheap-out when making alumni contributions). I am thankful, rather, to all those who actually
and very practically
made the completion of school possible.
Many of you whom attended this fine institution are holders of a liberal arts like mine. I'd wager that a great proportion of you are familiar then, as I am, with the massive impersonal structure of the University and its inadequate attempts to create and foster community among its students, who number in the tens of thousands. It was overwhelmingly depressing at times to attend classes without knowing a single soul; to be students of professors who could not remember your name, despite an unblemished attendance record. Moreover, it was downright discouraging at times to be constantly reminded by some instructors of the better, more important things that they could and should be spending their time on rather than lecturing a bunch of half-wit undergrads. Sadly, such behaviour was too widespread in many of the courses I was enrolled in. The noteworthy exception to this seemingly pathetic norm was found in the "Christianity and Culture" department of Saint Michael's college: the program from which I recieved one of my two majors. So to all of those instructors who made my scholastic experience an academically challenging (and at times) spiritually enlightening one, my hat goes off to you.
Nonetheless, the bulk of my gratitude of having reached this milestone in my life goes to my real support system: not to the college into which I was shepherded (Innis), not to the Hart House pool, where I spent many an afternoon decompressing after lectures, and not to Pauper's Pub, where I spent many an evening fretting about upcoming essays while guzzling massive quantities of beer, although this was a) exceedingly fun and perhaps b) did not contribute to, say, to degree completion within five years.
A big THANK YOU, then:
To my parents, my brother and my sister: who would often happily read copies of essays at my encouragement, even if they were long and boring and esoteric at times, and who were always in amazement at my perserverence through such a long academic career.
To my aunt and uncle, who financed much of my education and were always sweet and encouraging.
To Kate, my first "University" friend, a person to whom I am grateful for having developed a friendship that has lasted beyond our initial swimming dates at the pool.
To Dear Matthew, who coached me through many an anxiety attack and helped keep me on track when life got in the way of school or vice versa.
To my Dears Nicole, Mary, Susannah, Andrew, Heath, Helen and Sam: for being such supportive friends, whether over pints, out dancing, or getting down to brass tacks about what school should mean to me in general.
To D., my love: for running to the corner store for cans of Red Bull at 2am while I finished an essay, for wiping away tears of anxiety as I struggled to put an essay "to bed", for tirelessly insisting that I was intelligent, that I could 'do it,' for being proud of me no matter what, for listening to my boring presentations 4 hours before I made them, for the countless cups of tea, making sure I ate, for stern insistance that I "do work" that night, for being interested (or at least feigning) in Irenaeus, Chidester and Linenthal and Canon Law, and for helping me come up with the best title for an essay ever: "Desdemona and The Duchess: The Imperative of Self-Preservation among Whores from Outer Space." I owe much of my success over the past year and a half to you-- my motivator, my rock, my kissable manatee.
Again, thanks to all.
p.s. if there are any spelling or grammatical errors in the body of this post, suck it English Department!