I moved back to Penn last night, and the question I’ve – of course – been asked most often since: Didn’t you graduate?
Correct answer [thank you Mark Zuckerberg]: It’s complicated.
When I walked in 2010, I chose not to actually graduate, so I could keep paying undergraduate tuition until I finished my Master’s that fall.
So it was that December 2010 marked the end of my 9th semester at Penn. That same month, 202 happened to throw a party (Happy Birthday Liz!) asking attendees to
Face your fear… Dress up as your own worst nightmare.
I came dressed as my thesis – technically, my Master’s Capstone, but the idea’s the same – my final finals were nearly upon me and I had yet to start writing. Shockingly, I didn’t finish the thesis before I departed campus, nor did I make much progress while in Nepal, but I did manage to pull it together by the end of July, 2o11.* And thanks to the Capstone’s ambiguously-timed completion, my transcript ended up looking a little funny:
BA, August 2011
MES, May 2011
When I sent my resume to career development for review, it unsurprisingly came back with the dates reversed. I appreciated the vigilance, but nope – I need to come to grips with the fact that my graduation dates are always just going to look wrong.
Today, I found myself back at Penn for day one at my new job with the Penn Institute for Urban Research. I’m getting a new Penncard, a new email address (no more @sas!), and apparently – according to the email I received just before noon – a new graduation:
As an August, 2011 or December, 2011 Penn graduate, you are cordially invited to participate in the University’s 256th Commencement. The ceremony will be held in Franklin Field on Monday, May 14, 2012. The ceremony will feature the conferral of degrees, the awarding of honorary degrees, greetings by University officials and remarks by our Commencement speaker.
You’d think Penn would have learned its lesson from the first time they tried to let me graduate.
I think I’ll do it if only for the sake of a three-year graduation: 2010 (walk), 2011 (actually graduate), 2012 (walk). Though it probably depends to some degree on who the speaker is.
*OK, so technically it’s not done done – just done enough to graduate. I’m still working on it