My kid sister graduated on December 19th after 5 1/2 years of college. It was...weird. I've never really looked at my kid sister as my equal or as an adult. She is, after all, my baby sister. My BABY sister. She's not supposed to grow up! But, as luck would have it, she did turn around and grow up when I wasn't looking, and here are the photos to prove it!
School hasn't always been easy for Gina. In that aspect, we're quite different. While school could have been easy for me, I usually chose to de-stress and take the middle road rather than the rough road. I made it harder on myself than it should have been. I was always a little impressed with myself and surprised when I got good grades on tests and assignments that I knew I didn't dedicate the best of my best to. Imagine what I would have been capable of had I actually been a Super Student!
My sister, on the other hand, always struggled a little more. While reading and writing came easy for me, Gina had to guess at where to put the apostrophes and commas. I didn't always understand it because it was so easy for me. Whenever she asked me to proofread an assignment for her, I'd respond with tactful, guiding comments like, "USE A PERIOD FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!" and "YOUR RUN ONS MAKE MY EYES BLEED!!!!"
Like I said, I'm the oldest. It's a control thing.
One area in which we both struggled was math. I'm admittedly math-dumb and eventually would just give up and draw pictures for my answers in math class. If I guessed, I could probably get the correct answer, but these days math is all about the process and knowing how to get to the right answer. I could give two and a half spits about HOW I got to the correct answer, just so long as I DID get the right answer. I had a GPA to protect, dammit!!
But Gina? She's a viking. She never, ever gave up on her education. She never gave anything less than her best. I really admire her for that. If I didn't study enough for a test, I'd go to class anyway, give it the ole college try, and when I got the grade I deserved I'd say, "Eh, I'll get 'em next time" while I sucked down another cup of coffee. My kid sister, on the other hand, would study her eyeballs off for a test and if she didn't perform well, she'd beat herself up about it. Literally. She'd call my crying and looking for comfort, I'd roll my eyes, tell her she was pissing me off and that she needed to grow a pair if she ever expected to graduate with her natural hair color. The child was stressing herself out waaaaaaaaaay too much.
Secretly, I was confused. Why didn't I get that broken up about a bad test grade? Why didn't I put that kind of effort into my assignments? Hell, even I knew that if I studied half as hard as my sister, I'd have earned a 4.0 gpa every semester of college. (Except for the summer I had to take math. I hate math.)
Bottom line: My kid sister is a lot tougher than I give her credit for. She worked her butt off to get into college, and once she was there she wanted to prove that she deserved to be there and deserved to stay. Writing was never something she excelled in, but she knew that and she chose to apply her talents elsewhere. Her dedication to getting the best education possible amazes me. She's the only student I know who showed up to class 90 minutes early in a blizzard. Once, she studied so long that she ended up getting sick and STILL wanted to go to class. Our parents--our slightly anal, guilt-trip-planning parents--had to convince her to skip class, and she did, but damn did she feel bad about it. Does anyone else know a student who works herself so hard that her own parents tell her to skip class?
No? No? Anyone? Bueller? ::tap tap:: Is this thing on?
I admire Gina's ability to persevere. She's tough, and she earned her college diploma. I'm really proud of her.
Hey Mom, I bet you're crying right now, aren't you? Stop crying, dammit! There's no crying in baseball!
Anyway, on to the photos!
There's my kid sister! She's the one trying not to laugh because she's nervous and knows I'm taking pictures of her. The kid needed to laugh. Otherwise she would have been worrying that she'd trip and fall on her face in her cute-but-not-sensible shoes.
Look! A bunch of smart people!Gina's group gets ready to graduate. There were a billion Master's in Teaching and Education candidates. I'm glad my sister was in a smallish group. Once again, my sister was looking a little too uptight (she's totally her mother's daughter). So, I took it upon myself to make her smile. Yay! We bees koledge graduites. We is smrt now. There was cake for the graduates. Being the responsible older sister, I felt it was my duty to test the cake and make sure it was safe for Gina to eat. Gina: "Are we done taking pictures yet?"
Me: "No. Just keep staring at the bald spot on Dad's head."
Graham, Gina, and The Fabulous One. Gina was proud to join the ranks of the diplomafied.
It was a fun day, and I'm glad we were there to share it. Gina worked hard, and she deserved the right to walk across the stage and accept her diploma book (Her actual diploma is in the mail).