In the two weeks leading up to father's day I have attended two high school graduation parties for younger cousins. I didn't really want to go to either one since we're not close, but family is family and you gotta show up, right? I know when I graduated I thought it was the biggest deal ever and I was so proud of how well I had done. My mom was even more so, to the point that my brother, who did not graduate, was really annoyed by the whole process.
Sometimes I wonder whether I peaked too early and did amazingly well in high school so I could get into college. Then I got to college and stopped trying so hard sometime between junior and senior year and lost about one and a half grade points. I don't really know where I went wrong or how I blew it, but I still finished in four years and that was one thing I could be proud about, even ten years later when I'm not making the most of the B.A. from L.A.
To be the first kid in my family, the only person in my household to have earned a degree = huge deal, right? So huge in fact that this momentous occasion was celebrated by my dad treating everyone to dinner at Coco's, no joke. I know I should have been more appreciative of the fact that my dad paid for 10-12 people to go to dinner, even if it was at Coco's. I should have been thankful he and my mom were willing to plunge further into debt to support my educational efforts since we made too much money for aid and had to take out tons of loans instead. I should have remembered that not only was it my graduation day but also Father's day. I hadn't gotten my dad a card, much less a present. I was pissed we couldn't go to Roscoe's like I had wanted and I was embarassed to be at Coco's and I just wanted to go back to my apartment already.
Luckily I am not as much of a pain in the ass ten years later. I'm still paying my loans and the ones my mom took out on my behalf. My dad is paying the dad ones, which I think are the highest. I know I should still be proud of my degree, but it is tough to tell people my major without pausing for laughter or to explain exactly what the hell it is I studied. I don't think "you had to be there" or "it was a good idea at the time" will suffice. I doubt majoring in English would have brought me any less ridicule, but at least I did enjoy the enthusiasm and energy of the Classics department until the bitter end. I was going to double major in English and Classics, but as I hit Senior year I only needed three more Classics courses and about eight or nine more English courses. I slacked and dropped the extra major so I could take "fun" classes in history and film and whatever else I fancied. And I partied like it was 1999, because it was!