{    Cnytr   }

{Thursday, April 26, 2007  }

.:{Consummatum est}:.

...And the Cnytr bowed her head and delivered over her thesis.

Well. That. Was difficult. Thank you to all those who prayed.

And now let us celebrate with an age-old monastic tradition. Glory be to God in the highest.
posted by Lauren, 11:23 AM | link | 1 comments

{Saturday, April 21, 2007  }

.:{Thesis-writing and graduation}:.

Bloggians -- if there are any of you left after this long silence on my part, for which I apologize:

I am, at present, writing my senior thesis on how St. Thomas Aquinas uses the concept of faith in his Eucharistic hymns.

What, still writing? you may say. Weren't most normal people done with their theses a month ago?
Yes, but this is the Cnytress we're talking about. I write under pressure and, well, it's pressure time. I would very much appreciate your prayers -- especially to Sts. Thomas Aquinas, Dominic, Lawrence and Jude -- both for the felicitous writing of my paper and also the assurance of my graduation prospects.

To ensure that I get myself motivated enough to finish all 30-40 pages of this thing before Wednesday, I have set some goals for myself: when I'm done, I'm going to hammer down a full-time job with a salary that will let me stay in a relatively nice apartment... and then get a bunny rabbit. Graduation, an apartment, and a bunny rabbit ... that's all I'm aiming for right now.

However, once the stress of this silly thesis is off and I have to "study" for "finals" (I'll only have one hard one -- the other two are either super-easy and require minimal study or are papers), I have a few things I'd like to do:

  1. Go out to a movie. It's been a long time since I've done this, or watched one of my weird, non pop-culture flicks (c.f. A Short Film About Love).
  2. Go out and do some touristy DC things. Although I'll be staying in the city after I graduate, it'd be nice to go and ogle the monuments for, like, the 900th time this year.
  3. Go downtown and sketch something -- buildings or statues, perhaps a painting in the National Gallery. I haven't seriously sketched for a year or two.
  4. Read some children's lit and review it on the blog -- I'm at present in the middle of both The Mysterious Benedict Society and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Of the latter, I'm on book 7 of 13, The Vile Village. I'm finding more and more that children's literature is a lot more beautiful, interesting, deep, and in short, worthwhile than anything written post-1500 AD available for purchase in a modern Barnes & Noble.
  5. Go ballroom dancing again. I've had to give it up this year and it's driven me absolutely crazy.
  6. Drink. Something. Strong.
I must say ... graduating is a very strange prospect. I don't know what to do with myself when not in school. And I never really made plans for life beyond, oh, fourth grade ... it all sort of happened. I remember being 5 and looking at my sister in middle school and thinking "Wow! I'll never be that big! I'll never be allowed to do things!" Then I was in Catholic middle school and I would look at the high schoolers and think to myself "Wow! Man, I'll never be that old. Me? Drive? Never!" Then I was in highschool and it felt like I would never get to college, but that was okay because I really enjoyed my senior year of online home schooling. I went to UDallas and it felt like I would never LEAVE. I would look at the graduate students and the teachers and the seniors and new or recent grads and think to myself that I would be a freshman forever.

So now I'm graduating, and it's weird. But I don't have time to think about it -- I have to write a thesis. Excuse me while grab a spoon with which to gouge out my own eyeballs.

Oh wait, I should save that for graduation.

Someone once said to me that graduation (i.e. the ceremony) is really for one's parents. I hope this is the case, because it seems to me like a big, dull waste of time. It's not even an opportunity to see my friends one last time, as most of my friends are underclassmen, are at another school or otherwise will not be in the sea of black caps and gowns. Thank goodness for the only two other seniors in the Medieval and Byzantine Studies department. If it were up to me, there would be a mass, one mass for the entire class of 2007 (graduate students as well), wherein degrees would be conferred after the homily and there would be no crazy throwing of cap-and-gown, no dull speech (as the homily should be theological in nature), and it would be in the context of a mass. Therefore, if you complain against that, you're a bad person.

If it weren't for my parents' insistence, I would ask for my degree to be sent to me in the mail.

As it is, I'm bringing my iPod.

You know ... I wonder why I have such a low opinion of a graduation ceremony. It's somewhat esoteric and Medieval, therefore I should like it, right? I suppose I'm not thrilled about a very long, very boring speech formulaically summarizing current events and something about our futures.

Perhaps I also object to the deification of this sort of accomplishment. Back in the days when a Bachelor of Arts was brain-explodingly difficult to obtain (think: 13th century University of Paris or Bologna), a major paraliturgical ceremony celebrating human accomplishment might be merited. But unfortunately, undergraduate degrees are becoming less and less valuable, and I object to the accomplishments of a valedictorian being celebrated on the same level as Drunk College Student, earning his undergraduate education by the grace of his parents and caring not a whit for it. One is expected to go to college and expected to graduate. If one is only doing what is expected of one, why pat it on the back? Why ought I to be pat on the back for eating food or not breaking windows?

Perhaps, too, the paraliturgical aspect bothers me as well. The placement of the seven sacraments in the ages of man makes sense: birth, marriage, ordination, illness or death, maturity -- these things are major points in a person's life and the Church is there to commemorate and sanctify them. Graduation is almost made to feel as big an accomplishment as marriage, but in said paraliturgical ceremony, no actual grace is (necessarily) mediated. And since an action is made to feel like it deserves a liturgy of sorts, one is given -- but not a real one. Hence the long, boring speeches that would be okay if they were homiletic or theological in nature.

I'm sure I sound like a cranky old geezer. But I do believe my point about expectations stands.

But anyway ... back to thesising.

(Wow look, it's before the Pryz was built!)
posted by Lauren, 12:11 PM | link | 6 comments