The highlight of Commencement weekend… was visiting Gettysburg?

On the evening of May 17th, a Thursday, I set out with my mother and sister on a drive to Pennsylvania. We were headed to Carlisle for Dickinson College Commencement.

By the end of the drive, which we did in one go (no stopping to sleep), we were pretty cranky. That was less than fun, but not surprising. I discovered that my friend Phil is by far the easiest person to be in a car with for 18 hours straight, with my boyfriend, B, coming in close second.

Being back at Dickinson was weird. I felt entirely disconnected from my old roommates. I also felt strangely mature. I’m not saying I magically grew up a lot in the last 5 months, but something was very different. In fact, my former boss mentioned that when graduates come back to visit, there’s always an intangible maturity about them. She commented on it about me. I think my feeling was a combination of no longer being at home, having moved on in a big way from undergrad, and having matured and changed from being back at home.

On Friday, we focused on recovering. The drive ended in the early afternoon. My mom rested that evening while I took my sister on a tour of Dickinson with my awesome friend Caitlin. There were some people I felt completely disconnected from – Caitlin was not one. As much as she has changed in the last four years, I think she’s one of those people I will always manage to connect with.

Saturday, B came up from DC. We went to my Phi Beta Kappa initiation, which was hilarious. After that we spent some time at the historical society and the Old Graveyard in Carlisle. Dinner was a two-part affair since my favorite restaurant, Issei Noodle, didn’t open until 5 and we were starving at 3pm. We stopped by the Back Door Cafe* and ordered a quesadilla. After the BDC we walked around historic downtown Carlisle, visited Georgie Lou’s – a retro candy and gift store – and then it was time for Issei to open. I ordered my favorite, spicy tan-tan ramen, possibly for the last time.

By the evenings we were pretty exhausted. We spent a lot of time in the pool and hottub at the hotel.

Sunday was my graduation ceremony. I’m not too keen on pomp and circumstance (love the song, though), so I wasn’t all that interested in Commencement. I did enjoy David Petraeus’ address and walking around in funny robes was kinda fun. Sitting through everything else kind of sucked. It makes me think if I get married, I’ll go for something not at all traditional.

After Commencement we ate at Rillo’s without reservations. There are advantages to only having three people attend your graduation ceremony. B left (I fought back tears), and my mom, sister and I went to King’s Gap and Pine Grove Furnace. Both are places I never managed to visit during college. We hiked a bit.

Monday was epically long. It started with a brief farewell visit to the Admissions Office to say goodbye to all the lovely people there. Then I picked my mom and sister up from the hotel, got them coffee to placate their addiction, and headed 50 minutes south to Gettysburg. Gettysburg is overwhelming. Unfortunately, the visitor’s center isn’t particularly helpful for planning your day. I would suggest planning your day ahead of time. We took an audio tour of the battlefield. It was supposed to take between 2.5 and 3 hours. I think we were driving around for 4 and a half. It was worth it, but tiring. The last stop was the High Water Mark, and the audio tour creates a very somber mood.

It’s good to be home. Looking forward to my next adventure.

*There was a joke about it being a gay bar because of the name. Somehow this never occurred to me while I lived in Carlisle.


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