Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Next Generation

Apologies for not posting in such a while. It's been getting hectic (and I haven't even started studying for finals yet!) with being president/co-president of 2 student groups. And I'm still recovering from this weekend. Let's back-track a wee bit.

Last Thursday I helped out with the "LGBT Health Night" event. It had a surprisingly good turnout! I learned some things, made a couple contacts. Of the things I learned was how difficult it was to proper interact with transgendered people in a health care setting (I'm still rather bamboozled about it all). Immediately after the event ended, I drove about 1.5 hours to my uncle's house, where I stayed the night.

Last Friday, I took a city train from my uncle's house to Union Station, where I took the Megabus to my destination. About 5 hours away. Bleh. I attempted to read endocrine physiology on the bus. Bad idea - I just got nauseous for a while. That was unpleasant. :-/ When I arrived, a friend picked me up and we stopped by her house to drop my stuff off. Then we walked the 30 minutes to campus from her house. Two more friends joined us where we ate dinner.

After dinner, we trekked across campus to a new frozen yogurt place called Lab. It was certainly interesting, and really yummy. You had a choice of 4 frozen yogurt flavors and an assortment of toppings. The price you pay is dependent on the weight of your frozen yogurt + toppings. I wish that frozen yogurt place had been around when I was still in undergrad. Feeling stuffed, we walked (slowly) around campus some more.

We walked by the newly finished North Quad, where my youngest brother will be staying next year (so jealous).

As well as the walkway between the Undergrad Science Building, overlooking a dorm and field.

The last trip of the night was at Bubble Island, where in undergrad we gathered quite frequently to consume bubble tea (something that doesn't seem to exist in the state I'm currently residing in).

On the way back to my friend's house, I noticed and snapped a pic of this sticker (random, I know):

The following morning, Saturday, I got up at 6:00am. Why, you ask? Because we all had to get ready for graduation - my friend's and my brother's. Saturday was Spring Commencement, and it was a truly special graduation. Unfortunately, at around 6:20am it started pouring. Fortunately, I had bought a rain poncho the day before.

By the time my parents came by to pick us up around 7:30am to go to the stadium, where commencement was being held, the rain had mostly let up. The crowd at the stadium was insane! And security was pretty intense, with metal detectors and all that. Not quite as bad as airport security though, hehe. We managed to get inside the stadium and to some seats by about 9am.

Spring Commencement formally started at 11am or so. It's always cool to see the professors and deans and such walk up on stage in their full academic regalia, robes and hoods and all, while carrying the flags of their respective departments. There were a couple special guests at this particular graduation.

The first was the state governor. Her speech was very . . . political and suck-up-ish. No one was particularly enthused by her, lol. The real star attraction of Spring Commencement was President Obama. Yes, President Obama. Did you notice the secret service agents standing at the top of the stadium in the previous pic?

It truly was quite special to have President Obama give the commencement address to the graduates. How I envy my brother and my friends graduating from grad school this year! My Spring Commencement was so lackluster by comparison. Alas (though it was still a nice graduation). Obama gave a solid speech for about 32 minutes. There was a moment in there that I felt was a bit too political and not exactly apropos for the occasion, but he ended on a very nice note. Overall the excitement from that stadium, from the graduates and friends and family, was nothing short of overwhelming.

An except towards the end of President Obama's speech:
"The men and women who sat in your chairs 10 years ago and 50 years ago and 100 years ago –- they made America possible through their toil and their endurance and their imagination and their faith. Their success, and America’s success, was never a given. And there is no guarantee that the graduates who will sit in these same seats 10 years from now, or 50 years from now, or 100 years from now, will enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that you do. You, too, will have to strive. You, too, will have to push the boundaries of what seems possible. For the truth is, our nation’s destiny has never been certain."
And so the onus is with the next generation, as it almost always is.

After Spring Commencement, the remainder of my weekend was unremarkable. Sunday morning I woke up at 5:20am to catch the Megabus at 7:30am back to my uncle's place (the outbound Megabus was about 1 hour from my house). After a quick lunch, I had to drive the 1.5-2 hours back to my apartment.

I'm still recovering from all that lack of sleep. But I think it was worth it. :-)


Anonymous said...

I find graduations to be both inspiring, and also a complete headache. Literally, I have got the worse headache at every graduation I've ever attended. I think it has something to do with sun exposure and dehydration.

Ron said...

wow must be amazing to have the president give a speech to the graduates. i wonder what my graduation will be like


Mike said...

Bubble tea = Boba in Cali. You're the only one I know that calls it bubble tea. I've yet to find a flavor I really like- I've only had mango and strawberry.

Into The Maze said...

Bubble tea is like the best thing ever!
Sucks that you can't seem to find it where you're living. :/
I call it bubble tea also. I suppose we're just weird.

mr. pineapple man said...

is this u mich? the north quad and bubble island sounds familiar!

Manu said...


. said...

Hey great entry as well. Glad you took your camera to show us what you saw. Hope all is going well...imagine that...hearing a speech from the President. Congrats...write more soon okay?

Aek said...

James: :-/ Sucks to hear about the headache. That's a really odd thing to get at every graduation.

Ron: Yes, it was pretty amazing. I only wish it was my graduation, lol.

Mike: I know. Try papaya, that's pretty good.

Into The Maze: I KNOW! >.< I want my bubble tea damn it!!

mr. pineapple man: You guessed it. Did you go to U of MI?

Manu: And tapioca <3's you too. :-)

.: Of course I took my camera! :-P

Aaron said...

i wanna graduate in a US university!!!! u guys have such HUGE ceremony, AND OBAMA WAS THERE!!! jealous much!

tracy said...

You were in VA and didn't stop by to say Hello????? ;)

Aek said...

Aaron: Lol, yes, I was jealous too (even though, I was there - but the graduation wasn't mine!).

tracy: I wasn't in VA. Though, I suppose I was closer to VA than where I currently am.

tracy said...

Ahhhh, i wonder how many graduation speeches the President gave...he was here too!