Robe Envy

There had to be 1,500 robes walking solemnly into the ceremony. The arena was hushed as parents, relatives and friends watched the procession.  Occasionally a camera flash pierced the silence.  One by one, the robes took their place and the ceremony began.  This would be one of five such ceremonies over two days.  Yikes; that’s a lot of robes.

My niece was in one of those robes. It was her college commencement.  Hard to believe she’s old enough to graduate from college, and with a degree that is way more difficult than mine.  I could tell from the dangling cords decorating her robe that she was a member of an honor society.  Something I never achieved during my collegiate years.

With six nieces and nephews, Hubby and I will be attending many commencement ceremonies over the next 15 years. That’s a lot of robes; many heartfelt commencement speeches by dignitaries; a lot of listening to “pomp and circumstance”. Wonder if we could get Aerosmith to play at one of these things? Sure would be different.

I loved watching the doctorate candidates, followed by masters and then bachelors, each in a robe.  It was then that I discovered I have robe-envy.  Sure, I have the masters and bachelors robes.  But I want the fancy robe, the one with the velvet trim and colored hood that comes with obtaining a PHD.  Since I have no aspirations to become a professor, the degree would have little significance for my career and wouldn’t lead to more money.  I just want to say I achieved the feat.  It would be fun to have my friends call me “doctor”.  And the robe itself is beyond coolness.

Honestly, I just want the recognition that comes with working hard to achieve a goal.  And to hear someone cheering for me.  That’s not too much to ask, is it?  Hubby says I should go for the robe and the PHD that goes with it, if I want to.  Still contemplating the idea of going back to school.  It’s been a while since I wrote an academic paper.  The idea of research makes me a bit nauseous.  Of course I guess it might be easier nowadays, with the Internet. No more nights at the library trying to figure out the Dewy Decimal System simply to get a book that turned out to be less than good.  I’m still mad at that Dewy guy.  And all that reading!  If it’s not a romance novel or People magazine, I’m not too interested any more. 

Still, the lure of the robe is tempting. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with achieving a goal. And the recognition from others that I did it.  I made it. My hard work paid off.  Recognition like this is rarely seen once you enter the work force.  If you’ve ever been laid off, you know that getting recognition for your work – no matter how small – is really valued. And missed when you’re without a job.

So yes, I’m considering the possibility – however remote – of attempting to get the fancy robe. 

In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for the recognition that comes with working hard and that my years of experience are valuable.  I may bling-out my bathrobe until I can get the fancy robe.  Go ahead and be jealous. Robe-envy is hard to shake.

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