One more final to finish and I’ll be done with another ridiculously stressful and overwhelming quarter at school. After all the mental pressure I’ve endured thus far this school year I think I could qualify for a position with the CIA. If this didn’t crack me mentally beyond repair, nothing will.
When I finish tomorrow, I’ll be getting ready to head out to Oregon. I’m both excited and nervous about attending my commencement. It’s going to be a long day on a campus, in a city, and in a state I’ve never stepped foot in. I’ll also be wearing a black robe and a black cardboard hat in the sun on AstroTurf in a football stadium for about 3 hours. I really hope I don’t pass out in front of 30,000 spectators and amongst the 6,000+ graduates. Not only would that be embarrassing, it would also probably disqualify me for that CIA job.
The graduation thing is exciting and all but what I’m really looking forward to is seeing the state I’ve been learning about for the past 2 1/2 years. I almost feel like I’ve been preparing for a mission to Mars for years and years and now I’m finally going to see the red planet in person for the first time. There’s so many things I want to see. Salmon, Ponderosa Pine, Salmon, Douglas-Fir, Salmon. Really, I don’t think I’ve taken a class at Oregon State, of any subject, in which salmon wasn’t mentioned. I think Oregon cherishes and reveres their salmon as much as Central Illinois reveres Abraham Lincoln.
I’ve read the experiences of my fellow forestry students with the vast natural areas that are within driving distance of Corvallis – the mountains and volcanoes, the desert, the valley, the rocky coast and the Pacific Ocean. And they know all about Garman Park and Rock Springs. Hey, Garman Park is pretty cool. Crater Lake? Mt. Hood? Overrated in comparison if you ask me. Okay, sometimes I felt a little inadequate. When I described Illinois to Oregonians, at times it felt like I was describing a vast paved parking lot with a couple lonely potted plants representing our remaining natural wonders.
Actually, I love Illinois. I love the gentle landscape. There’s beauty here but it’s quiet and unpretentious.
Well, I better get prepared for that last final and get the house ready for the house/cat/fish/bearded dragon/dogsitter.