Back when I was finishing my Ph.D., my family wanted to come down from Bloomington for graduation. Given how much Freeses hate traveling outside of Iowa--the only time they had come to Bloomington was to help me move there--this was a big gesture. I nixed the idea, because I would have had to go through the ceremony before I was actually finished with my dissertation, and I was still certain that there was a nonzero probability that doom would befall me and drive me out without ever having finished my dissertation. Indeed, as it turned out, I wouldn't even let friends plan a party for my dissertation defense, as I was too worried about failing. I did get cards from my parents and siblings congratulating me on finishing my dissertation, and my brother even gave me a pen and pencil set with "Dr. Jeremy Freese" engraved on it.
My friend Kathryn is considerably more psychologically healthy than I am, and so she is free from irrational and neurotic qualms about early celebrations. And so, even though she is not defending her dissertation until late next month, she went through graduation earlier this month, and her family threw her a party this weekend in Boston. Especially in juxtaposition to my disastrous quest for fall housing, her party also was the most gratifying and successful part of the trip. Successful for her as well: I am not allowed to divulge the total haul in cash, gift cards, and merchandise from relatives, but suffice it to say that I'm hoping that I don't have to pay that much this fall in monthly rent, even if I do live in Cambridge proper. And that's not counting the trip to Paris from her parents.
Anyway, here is Kathryn in her gown, tam, and Indiana University hood:
As the only Ph.D. at the party, I insisted that I had to be the one to help her with her hood. Meanwhile, she had the idea of getting pictures of other family members and friends in her graduation get-up, but I nixed this plan. "You think when a priest gets frocked, he has everybody who shows up at his parts gets to wear around his collar?" However, later on, I did take advantage of the graduation photo-op that my mother never got: