Monday, June 11, 2007

2007 MIT Commencement

On Thursday, I journeyed to Boston for the 2007 MIT Commencement. It was wonderful to see fellow students (I guess I should call them "alumni" now), professors, and administrators. The weekend started with a gathering at Cambridge Brewing Company, a favorite hang-out during my days at MIT.

On Friday, I went to the gym to line up with my fellow graduates. The gym was stiflingly hot, but it was still great to see everybody and catch up. Eventually, we lined up and started moving. After halting at the fields, on the little street outside the gym, on Mass Ave, and on Memorial Drive, we finally made our way in.

I was so excited to see my mom, dad, and Dan sitting about halfway between the stage and the entrance. I stepped out of line for a couple of pictures (reminiscent of what I had done at Dartmouth), then continued on.

This graduation was so different from my Dartmouth graduation. I remember sitting there, feeling at peace, yet confused. I don't remember getting my diploma-I didn't even remember it right after it happened, it was such a blur. One of the things the two commencements had in common were my luck in next-door seatmates. At Dartmouth, my good friend Rusty ended up sitting next to me by luck of alphabetical order. At MIT, I was surrounded by Sam and Fernando who happened to be good friends of mine. Other SDMers were well within talking distance, which made the experience even better.

I also remember the speeches this year, something that was another blur at Dartmouth. The keynote speaker, a former President of MIT, started off by alluding to the fact that Harvard had had both Bill Clinton and Bill Gates talk. Said he, "People may be saying *they* got two Bills, and all we got was a Chuck!" He continued to say that he would be talking directly to us rather than to the world, and proceeded to give a very effective speech about success, service, and giving back.

When I went up to get my diploma this year, I felt much more confident and aware. I had a wreath of flowers around my cap, and two of the professors on stage complimented it, including the greeter. When he said, "I like your hat!" I returned with, "And I like yours!" (seeing as he was in full regalia). I remember getting my diploma and walking down from the stage. Of course, I did not realize we were being filmed and put on big-screen TV's during our walks from the stage, so the camera caught me looking pensive. As a matter of fact, I felt close to tears at many times during the day, I was so happy to be there and proud of myself for getting my Master's degree.

As soon as I sat back down, off came the gown. I was wearing a strapless dress under it, so it's not like I was indecent. The only thing indecent was the 80+ degree temperatures and sun pouring down on all of us poor souls sitting there in black caps and gowns. It was much more comfy without it. For the recessional, I again donned the gown.

Afterwards, we went to the SDM reception, which was just wonderful. Most of the SDM'ers went there afterward, so it was nice to have a place to bid all farewell (for now). The food was great, and it was wonderful to see Pat, Helen, Chris, and Bill as well as some of the families and spouses of my fellow alumni. We were supposed to go to Capital Grille for dinner, but my parents, Dan, and I agreed we were exhausted from the heat and excitement, so went back to Sharon for a nap and eventual take-out pizzas from Town Spa.

On Saturday, Dan and I went into town to wander around. We met up with Elizabeth, Corey, and Suzanne at one of our favorite haunts, the Boston Beerworks. I was overjoyed to be surrounded by so many intellectual people at MIT, and that same sentiment just continued with these girls. Our discussion went all over the map. Dan was a good sport when asked to give opinions as the token male. =) We were joined by Ray, a friend of mine from school, at the Grand Canal. I really miss my friends.

Thank you to everybody who made my commencement weekend so special. =)

1 comment:

Rich said...

Hi Ilana,

I hope I've connected the "dots" correctly as I was looking at MITRE's blog this morning and yours caught my attention when I saw MIT's SDM. That's because I am currently a MITRE employee and have just submitted an application to EMTM (exec masters of tech management) program at UPenn, which is similar to MIT's SDM.

Since you've graduated from such program and I assume you got it when you were at MITRE, I hope to learn more about your experience and thoughts particularly with the support and relevance you found with MITRE.

Thanks and hopefully I got the "right" person.