As You Were

Devin Coughlin's blog.
Styles: Serious Spare

May 9, 2008

The Commencement

Today was Commencement at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where I work for the Law School and where I'll start as a graduate student in Computer Science in the fall. Today, too, marks the beginning of a Research Assistantship in CS where I'm working with students and professors I admire on projects that are exciting and worthwhile.

Watching students run around in their gowns with families in tow (I've never seen so many cowboy hats and sportscoats this side of a wedding) brought back regrets about my own Commencement at Stanford five years ago.

I didn't attend. I told my family they were welcome to go, but that I wouldn't be there. I remember walking by the quad, where the ceremony was being held, to pick up the last of my mail, hoping to god I didn't see anyone I knew and wondering what the fuck I was going to do with the rest of my life. I saw my roommate from freshman year, whom I hated for no other reason than because he was there (and perhaps because he was overly fond of Crosby, Nash, Stills & Young). We didn't say hello, or even nod in the awkward way that two shy people sometimes do. It was the perfect bookend to four awful years.

I still cringe when I think of the time, money, brain cells, and (especially) opportunity I lost at Stanford. But, five years after I left, I think maybe I've gained the perspective and self-awareness needed to not fuck it up again.

So look out world, I'm still here.

Posted by coughlin at 5:24 PM