Better Than Grass Stained Knees

Words of wisdom. Today my day ended with something better than grass stained knees.

Wow, today was packed!

My morning started bright and early so that I could prep for a meeting with several colleagues to discuss and plan for the upcoming fall semester1. This was followed by a meeting with my undergraduate research assistant Stephen to review a needs assessment report that he has drafted2. And because I love meetings3, I followed my meeting with Stephen with – you guessed it – another meeting. This time with a Masters student who was looking for some statistical advice.

Before I knew it lunch had arrived. Normally lunch means I get to stuff my gullet with foodstuffs, but today it meant another meeting of sorts. This time the meeting-slash-man-date was with my friend Danny Williamson (also known as @dcwllms on The Twitter). We had two goals; eat lunch, and discuss our game plan for yet another meeting that was occurring immediately following lunch. The meeting to follow lunch was related to a project that Danny and I been trying to get off the ground for several months. And I have to say that it was my favourite meeting of the day. We both left it absolutely pumped and ready to take on the world4.

Convocation in War Memorial hall

By the time I finally returned to my office to get some work done, I realized just how tired I was from all of the meetings. I opted to do a little reading until my next big adventure for the day.

That particular adventure was the College of Physical and Engineering Science‘s summer convocation. Today marked the first day that I attended a convocation where I was not getting a degree, although I was dressed up as if I were5. The difference this time – I was standing as faculty watching as hundreds of students were given their degrees in the various disciplines of science and engineering.

To say that this was the icing on the cake-that-was-today would be an understatement. It felt surreal, and amazing, and awesome, and inspiring, and so much more. It reminded me of the day I was hooded after the successful defence of my PhD dissertation – how proud I was of my accomplishment, but also how grateful I felt to all those who supported me throughout it. I can only assume that the students that were granted their degrees today were feeling the same sense of overwhelming awesome – as if their hearts might burst from all the happiness. It really was an amazing reminder of the journey that took me from where I was to where I am now. And that was pretty spectacular.

A terrible picture of the convocation address by Honourary Degree recipient Dr. Dohoo.

Of course, every iced caked needs cherries or sprinkles or some other most excellent garnish. For me, that was getting to see one of my former students – Vivek – graduate. He was (and still is) an excellent student, and I’m so proud of him. After the ceremony, I was honoured to be able to meet his family and spend some time chatting with them. To see how obviously proud they were of him was fantastic. His mom and his sister were absolutely beaming.

Afterwards I returned to my office to pack up and head home for the day. As I walked back, I realized there was a bounce in my step that wasn’t there earlier. While I could blame the bounce on the weather (which was absolutely perfect), I know that wouldn’t be accurate. Truthfully, the bounce in my step was due to the realization that I really do have an effect on the lives of the students I teach. At once this was overwhelming, and rewarding, and scary, and amazing, and everything.

As I opened my office door I smiled. I have the best job ever.

1 Among other things.

I’m very happy with what he’s done so far, so am very much looking forward to the final product.


I’m not going to get into the details of that particular project at the moment because we’re both still processing everything that happened today, but I will give you a hint: it’s going to be awesome! W00t!

Which means I was in the bright blue University of Guelph doctoral robes, and I had my hood on as well. For those not in the know, the hood is not actually a hood – it’s the sash-thingy that is hung around your neck. Truth be told, I’m not even sure if the sash-thingy is called a hood or not – but the act of putting it around a graduate’s neck is called hooding so I figured calling it a hood makes some sort of sense.  

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    Did you buy your own robes? Or do you rent them, like when you graduate?

    Have you seen the UBC doctoral robes? They are pink with a puffy hat. They are atrocious and I *love* them! I think I get to wear them again when I graduate from the MBA because even though the MBA is only a Master’s-level, I already have the PhD which apparently entitles me to wear them forever! Once you go PhD, you never go back, baby!

    1. dangillis says:

      I did neither. Faculty were provided robes. W00t!

      “Once you go PhD, you never go back, baby!” is a shirt.

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