14 May 2010

Graduation Day

Graduation Day
by Archaeopteryx
05/14/2010, 2:29 PM #

Graduate list, Department of Biology

Brenda—Double major in biology and psychology. Married late last year, baby due at the end of the summer. Her husband’s accepted to law school in Ohio. She once passed out during a field trip in Ecology class.

Martin—Biology major, accepted to graduate school in forestry. His wife graduated from nursing school last year. He has five (not a typo) kids. This may explain why he doesn’t have a hair on his head. He’s here spending his GI Bill money—spent two tours in Iraq. He made every class he was in funnier and better.

Donna—Biology and Biochemistry double major. Still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. Her GPA and intelligence would get her into any med school or graduate school in the country, but she’s having fun waiting tables, and may well end up as the smartest high school teacher in whatever school is lucky enough to get her. I called her out once for falling asleep during one of my Comparative Anatomy lectures. Her response, “I’m Asian, my eyes always look like that, quit being racist.”

Matt—Quiet, goofy looking kid from the Mississippi Delta. Graduating with a 4.0 and a ticket punched to med school. Biology and Biochem double major. He spends considerable time trying to figure out how to be a good person and how to make the world a better place. Has gone on two church mission trips to Central American slums to help doctors give out free health care, although he doesn’t believe in God. Makes duck kabobs and brings them to departmental cookouts.

Rhonda—Matt's fiancée, also a 4.0, also a Biology and Biochem double major, also going to med school. She came to our university as a nursing major, and switched to pre-med at my suggestion. If I never accomplish anything else of value, I’m taking credit for that. Singlehandedly organized and ran the departmental Relay for Life team.

Drew—Biology major, got in pharmacy school despite being the star of the university baseball team. Led the team in home runs, RBI, and GPA.

Samantha—Biology major, magna cum laude. Accepted to pharmacy school. On the field biology trip last year, made breakfast each morning out of half a pop-tart, which may explain the fact that she’s about 4’6”. Writes better than any student I’ve ever had, talks like an extra from “Deliverance.”

Carmalita—Biology major, pre-med. Came on a basketball scholarship, graduated with a 3.6, despite missing half her classes during the season. Speaks with a thick Spanish accent, almost never talks in class or smiles. One of my crowning achievements as a professor was causing her to break up during Evolution class. Her parents came all the way from Puerto Rico to watch her graduate.

Will—Natural Science major. Barely passed enough classes to graduate—not too surprising since he sustained a major brain injury in a car accident his freshman year which made it very difficult for him to pay attention in class. He also was made deaf in one ear by the accident, but he never used it as an excuse, or asked for special treatment. He’s getting married in June to a girl who’s much too good-looking for him, and taking a job in Louisiana as an environmental specialist for the state. Quiet, but funny when he does finally decide to say something.

Benny—Natural Science major. He and his wife used my Field Biology trip to Costa Rica as their honeymoon, where he cracked everybody up by doing his wookie impression over a P.A. system on a public bus. He may be the skinniest human being alive. He’s going to work as a middle school science teacher.

Tina—Biology major, 3.8 GPA. She’s from Mississippi, and I never let her forget it. She once ran into me at the liquor store and never let me forget it. She’s going to Physical Therapy school in Jackson next year.

Latisha—Natural Science major. One of my favorite students ever. If she had spent as much time studying as she did trying to weasel her way out of completing assignments or writing papers, she’d be going to med school now. At graduation today, she introduced me to her mom (“Thanks for getting her through this.”), then hugged me so hard, we both nearly burst into tears. She’ll be teaching biology at a high school in the bad part of Houston next year. Her students may never understand how lucky they are.

That’s it. It’s a small school.

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