After years upon years of schooling -- after brief flirtations with different graduate programs, from museum studies to acting and finally to secondary teaching -- I had handed in my last (30 paged) paper, thanking my last professor for a last semester well-spent. I was walking out the school doors to freedom.
I'm not really one to celebrate until all is said and done -- in other words (in this instance), until the diploma is actually gripped in my own hand -- and so I resisted the initial urge to splurge on hot chocolate and instead battled my way through the rainy night to come back to home sweet home.
It wasn't until I climbed the stairs and walked into our kitchen to see the pile of dishes awaiting me in the sink that I realized -- Yes. I need to celebrate tonight.
And so as quickly as I walked into the house and took off my vest, hat, and rain boots, I walked back downstairs and put on my vest, hat, and rain boots. I grabbed my keys and walked out the door, welcoming a celebratory night of peppermint hot chocolate (and subsequently -- temporarily -- breaking my no-refined-sugar rule because special occasions just don't count!) and writing.
The mundane and everyday will always be there -- there will be never-ending dishes to wash and dirt to dust and clothes to launder -- but there will only be one last night of graduate school to celebrate.
Last night was my final night as a graduate student. And even though I don't yet have that diploma in hand, I decided to celebrate.
Hot chocolate, you were a great celebratory companion.