These graduation milestones are really starting to gear up.
Today’s adventure took me out to Fullerton with my parents so I could officially give my Senior Honors Project presentation.
It has been literal years in the making. After I spent some time reflecting on my novel and compiling the work behind it into a PowerPoint, I was finally ready to cap off my time in the Honors Program by speaking on a panel about creative writing projects.
When I attended Welcome to CSUF day four years ago, I was intimidated by the project during the Honors Program introduction. The idea of a year-long, self-driven (for all intents and purposes) undergraduate thesis that had no guidelines was terrifying.
I was able to stave off the fear by remembering the long college career I’d have before it would be a concern, and by latching onto people like Dr. Sexton — who I met that day and would later take his class. Which led to much more.
But the fear of the Senior Honors Project never fully went away.
Even when I decided what I wanted to do for my project, there was a period where I fell behind on my Honors courses because I couldn’t find a mentor. Then Dr. Rizzo came along and helped change my trajectory.
Yet the prep for a creative writing piece didn’t click as easily as journalism, which the recent Comm Awards showed I’m decent with.
However, being at the end of the road has given me hope that perhaps I haven’t been bad at the Honors Project thing either.
As I’ve transitioned from figuring out the scope of my project to actually preparing and writing, my fears also refocused from uncertainty and lack of guidance to figuring out how to share my work in a way that really conveys how special it is to me.
I practiced my presentation after the Honors Gala last night and it felt a bit shaky.
But in front of a crowd of my peers and mentors, things went exceptionally well. Mom even got some pictures of me doing my thing:
The presentation went off without a hitch, and I was more than ready to answer a questions from the audience. So it was great.
But once everything was said and done, the post-panel interactions went even better.
I got to introduce both of my parents to Dr. Rizzo (though she met my Dad at the COMM Awards) and had a blast watching them interact.
It was even more fun to give her the gift I’ve been preparing.
I had to thank her for all of her help thus far, after all.
She cried. Which was an unexpected, but sweet little surprise.
Dr. Simoes was at the event, which was a great surprise considering a section of my presentation was dedicated to his help finding resources for my imagined civilizations.
So was Tyler Siedentopp — though that makes sense considering he’s the program’s Co-Curricular Coordinator. Turned out to be a nice way to wrap up our time together.
The most surprising attendee was College of Communications Dean Ed Fink. Everyone on my panel was a COMM student, but I was not expecting someone like him to come.
Apparently he had some very nice things to say to my parents after my presentation. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation, since it seems like I’ve made a good impression all around campus.
If I have any negatives about the cathartic day of presenting, it’s that I have even more hardware to put on during graduation.
I swear I’ll pass out from heat stroke in the mid-May sun.
But you know what, it’ll all have been worth it considering the kinds of personal enlightenment I’ve felt getting there!