I am graduating from Queens College next month. My bachelor's degree is 44 years in the making. I finished high school in June of 1973, and since then, my life has taken me on a roller coaster ride of twists, turns and unexpected bumps.
Yet, here I stand. Next month, I will don that black robe and mortarboard, a red stole and various honors ropes and tassels as I march with hundreds of my (way younger) peers onto Queens College's grassy quad. This journey, from 1973 until now has taken me on a safari. I started and stopped college. I joined a religious cult and spent the better part of 30 years adhering to its strictures, including a marriage to a fine man who became father to our five amazing children. My sexual identity, always in the back of my mind, came to the fore, and I finally came out. While this was surely a rough part of the safari, I emerged with no regrets and a renewed sense of self, of motherhood and of professional potential.
So, here now, I stand. This particular achievement (my graduation) will be attended and celebrated by those who matter, and I am totally stoked! On that day I will don black robe, mortarboard, red stole and various honor ropes and tassels. I will not only reflect on my own journey, but the varied path of my young cohorts who have striven to stand with me on this day. We have striven, we have searched and we have emerged unto this day victorious.
I may possibly be the oldest graduate to stand on the quad on that day. But we all stand together. Amen.