Once upon a time, clear back before the haze of summer days was even on the horizon, I attended a little something 5 years in the making called Nursing Convocation.

Six weeks prior, I received an email stating I had been recommended by the faculty to submit a possible graduation speech. 20 [something] students were extended this invitation.   From the written submissions, faculty would narrow those choices down to 8 individuals. Those 8 would give their speech live to a panel of "judges" after which two students would be chosen to speak at graduation. (I can't believe I actually used the phrase after which in a sentence!! Who does that??)

I was flattered by the email, but didn't want to do it. Any chance of being chosen would require hours of work and struggle. Writing doesn't come easy for me.... I fret and draw blanks and reword and revise and rehash and rethink and rebuke and rebuff.

No thanks. I wasn't in the mood to gamble with my time.

But my friend Missy said I should do it.

So...I scheduled many secret cuddling sessions with my Mac and crafted a speech. The covert operation would spare me from having to tell everyone when I didn't get chosen.

But this meant I didn't have a single other pair of eyes to proofread or offer opinions about content. My parents, who are always so great to offer feedback, were in China and I didn't want to bother them.

I submitted the speech, then got invited to 'try out" in front of ten bigwigs from the University of Utah. One week after giving the pseudo-speech, I received a phone call from Carrie Radmall. They wanted me and my 3-minute string of words to represent the graduate students at the pulpit.

Next thing I know, I heard myself telling Carrie that I wanted to surprise my parents with this news. "I want them to find out by reading the program right before the ceremony begins."

My good, good parents were coming all the way from China just for my graduation, and I thought it would be fun to give them a little excitement and reward for their journey. I know how proud parents get with these kinds of things....

Carrie said, "this is too big, too exciting. There's no way you can keep it a secret."

What Carrie didn't know is how much I LOVE giving [and getting] surprises!

So, I did it. I didn't tell my parents. I didn't tell my friends or my brothers and sister. I didn't post it on Facebook. (Yes, I did tell my kids and husband and one brother so he could photograph my parent's reaction).

It all played out like I planned. My mom was reading the program before graduation started, saw my name, and squealed the typical squeal she squeals when she deems something squeal-worthy. I was backstage and didn't get to hear / see her reaction, but my sources told me it was exactly what I had hoped for!!

It was an awesome day, especially having all my family there. And I really had fun giving the speech. Especially pumping my fist at the end.... I felt like Richard Simmons in church.

I also had fun being on the stage and watching all the crazy family members cheering for their graduate. Ooops... I mean... watching all the family members cheering crazily for their graduate.

I'd do it again.


Cannon's said...

Great job!

Ms. Fish said...

Thank you!!

julie said...

It was quite awesome! I've gotta say, I am so happy to be out of that place!

LGH said...

Jenni, this was just awesome. I'm so glad that you posted this so we can listen to it over and over. What a great speaker you are!

Mrs. Olsen said...

Hey, that is quite an accomplishment on BOTH levels. I hope your new degree is offering a happy career that leaves you rolling in hundred dollar bills while you sleep.

Unknown said...

You're awesom, Jenni. Loved it.

ellen said...

Wow! Impressive. (My mom is a Ute!)


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