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Commencement and questions

I am graduating this spring. It sounds so more real each time I say it. Finally, after 20 plus years of off-and-on post secondary education, I am getting a bachelor's degree. Not in my first love, Archaeology (via Anthropology) but in Computers. At least job-wise, I'll be a little more marketable. But the biggest thing is, I'll be finished that part of the education journey once I walk across the stage. Yes, after all the blood, sweat, tears, and nights of lost sleep, I am doing that graduation walk across the Comcast Center stage at College Park come May 12.

And of course, for the past month and a half, I've been seeing messages and receiving notes and reading the notices on the online class system: Don't forget to send in your commencement questionnaire by March 16! (And nothing about "click here" to find the information on the UMUC website either. Not very well organized by my standards.)

Um, nice people, but where is it? was my answer back to the computer screen, email windows, online class messages. And how am I getting this wonderful questionnaire? Well, yesterday, March 8, I finally received a nice commencement packet in the mail, with, yes, the questionnaire and other papers inside it. That sucker is now in the to-be-mailed stack this morning.

The other bits and pieces were the usual sales junk for college ring, envelope seals, special frames for your diploma, a college mug with the college logo on it to commemorate your graduation, and of course, the information for ordering the requisite cap and gown.

I don't need a cap and gown. I own one of each. No, I'm not talking about my high school cap and gown, that were once white but have since aged to a weird spotty yellow-ecru polyester thing in a bag. They are probably dry rot too, but I kept for semtiment's sake.

I own "official" commencement regalia, purchased in 2002 when I changed jobs and job levels. Yes, if you are of a certain employment level at the community college, you are hereby required to attend commencement ceremonies, either as part of the audience, or attired in appropriate regalia.

That is, barring the out-of-town travel, family emergencies, illness, or, heavens' forbid, your own death. Oh, here's a nice little clause hidden on the questionnaire form: "Any cap and gown to be worn in the ceremony that was not ordered through UMUC must be approved by the registrar during regular business hours April 3–6."

Well. Good thing I have off work that week, so that I can pack up my regalia to get "approval" for my standard black cap and gown. I also have plain black tassel, and a hood for my "discipline" in computers. If I plan it right, I can also visit the REI store, and do a little pre-summer-travel-necessities shopping, or figure out a way of getting from College Park to an open green space where I can hike or walk or just let off steam.

I intend to take my usual sock knitting with me as I wait in lines, unless I figure out a way of getting around that whole approval by the registrar thing. I mean, c'mon! It's all in black! Just give me a tassel! Wonder if an email to the registrar's office would clear me? Ponder, ponder, ponder...

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I am graduating this coming may 16th and yesterday was the cut off time for ordering caps and gowns. I have an old cap and (may still) have an old gown from a previous graduation. What do you think my chances are of

a. getting by with the cap n gown I have


b. getting them to accept my order Monday, just one business day late?

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