I’ve Graduated! My Commencement Fashion & Personal Reflections

May 11, 2012

Going to graduate school was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  I though, try not to regret my mistakes.  Making mistakes means you lived, discovered, got your hands dirty and crossed things off my list.  Answers can only be found when questions are posed and being able to say with sturdy conviction that you’re not cut out for something can only be done when you’ve actually tried your hand at a new and shaky venture.

Academic life is not for me- I thought it was.  I take this failure as a gift that though I failed, I failed quickly.  I will not be resigning myself to an entire life of quiet desperation- rather, I got that suffering out of the way within two years.  Granted, it did cost me a large chunk of money- but it forged my character.  I have a better idea of who I am and where my convictions rest.

graduation collage

These last two years of exploration and failure have not killed my curiosity, but made me hunger for more.  It makes me think of being a child learning to ride a bike-  I used to fear falling so greatly that I refused to get on a bike without training wheels.  The first time I finally did fall, the failure, bruises and embarrassment didn’t sting as bad as I had predicted- from then on, the fear didn’t hold me back.

If I had advice for anyone who is wondering if they should pack up their stuff into a hatchback Toyota, drive across country and start anew in the hopes they’ll find their calling- I’d say, do it.  Don’t be afraid of being wrong. I’ve learned that anyone who balks “I told you so,” at your results if you fail are usually the ones who cling the most strongly to their fears.  They will never understand you, it’s best to leave those people in the dust where they belong!

So, a few days ago, I asked you- my fab readers what dress I should wear (see here)…here’s the fashion update: 

Graduation Fashion

Dress- Darling from HauteLook  Shoes- Christian Louboutin

Thank you to everyone helped me decide what to wear for graduation!  I ended up going with the beige dress since the cap and gown was just so much black.  I wanted something flirty and fun because that’s how I felt-  I was ready to throw my cap in the air, have a martini and celebrate!  I’ve kept both dresses and you better believe I’m going to find excuses to wear both!   The shoes were not cheap- how unfrugal of me…but I have been swooning over, and saving up for a pair of LouBou’s for well over a year.   I feel like a million bucks in these nude Christian Louboutin pumps and my frilly dress.

what to wear to graduation

Shoes- Callista Flats from OKA B   Jewelry:  Topaz necklace & drop earrings from Lucid New York  Sunglasses: TOMS (use a coupon!)

These nude Callista flats from OKA B were perfect for the long walk to the ceremony-  they’re classy and compact. I wore them before changing into my pumps and love to wear them on Target runs and to brunch.   The bows actually change color a bit in the light-  they have the comfort of Crocs without the faux paux!  Plus, they come in a variety of colors & flirty styles in both flats and flip flops!

My jewelry is from Lucid New York– I loved how the handmade jewelry with topaz crystals caught the light. I love glitz and glimmer, but there is a time for understated elegance which I thought was perfectly captured by this set.  Lucid New York also carries an array of adorable charm necklaces and rhinestone cocktail rings which I adore!    I’m thrilled with how these looked on!

commencement dress


The day was delightful- my family couldn’t attend, but my roomie (who graduated with her M.A. last year as well) and I attended the ceremony, had fun taking pictures, grabbed delish organic food & cocktails afterwards.  After checking on Ralph, we then proceeded to do laundry (I know..I know!) and finished the day with a trip to a new Mexican food place to grab enchiladas and margaritas!  It was an awesome day filled with gratitude and the simple pleasures of life- how I’ve changed!

My life is filled with blessings as I spend more and more time focusing on what matters- genuine relationships, good food,  exploring challenging new hobbies (fashion & photography) and being able to have the time to enjoy it all!  I truly am one lucky woman.

Graduate school did not pan out the way I intended- I will not be continuing on to my Ph.D. or teaching at a university as planned, but I have no regrets.  The process of relocating, juggling work and school in a new city & doing so on a very, very strict budget has forged a new me…a “me” who has never been happier or more fulfilled.  I’m hungry for the next adventure.


Congratulations to the class of 2012- as Steve Jobs famously said: “Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.”



11 comments so far.

11 responses to “I’ve Graduated! My Commencement Fashion & Personal Reflections”

  1. Congrats! That’s such a big accomplishment! And love the LouBous!

    • Shannyn says:

      Thank you, I do too…they are the most expensive pair I’ve ever owned but it was totally worth saving up for!

  2. Congrats Shannyn! No matter what regrets you have, it was a learning experience of its own and you now have something to show for it. You put in your time and work and you totally deserve this! I’m so happy you went with the beige dress and I LOVE those loubies. One day, one day.

    • Shannyn says:

      Yes, you will get your Loubous someday- I had to save up for quite some time since I knew that I wanted to have them for graduation. I finally took the plunge when I got to go to their location in NYC. They buzz you in the store, it’s pretty awesome. Not like I can afford to do that again, but it was cool at the time!

  3. Congrats! It was expensive lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.

  4. Carrie Smith says:

    Congratulations pretty lady! Well deserved accomplishment and you should be super proud of yourself. Although it was a mistake, you learned a good lesson and sometimes that’s worth the price. Good luck in the future, I know you’ll rock it!

    • Shannyn says:

      It made me who I am, regretting it won’t change anything. I’m still glad I used grad school as an excuse to relocate (I needed an “excuse” at that point in my life) and start over somewhere completely new. I spent way too much time working and slaving away- it’s time to celebrate. Even when I work now, it feels like play so my life outlook has completely shifted!

  5. Tammy says:

    That dress is absolutely stunning. I love the color and the texture. Great Choice.

  6. Michelle says:

    Congrats girl! Glad you chose that outfit 🙂

  7. Jaime says:

    These days you hear how people want to live without regrets but I don’t believe them. Like you said a full life involves mistakes. I think its very courageous and honest of you to say that grad school was a mistake.

    I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from friends and from bloggers of how deep in debt they are but not admitting that it was a mistake to spend so much money for college. I’ve had friends that majored in something they hated and they still won’t admit that it wasn’t the best thing for them.

    So kudos for you for admitting that. I respect that a lot. I hope you continue to go forward. I’ve learned in life its okay to feel regret, but feeling regret forever does nothing to help the situation right now. If anything sometimes mistakes are the best things in life.

    They can help motivate us, help us be more creative, etc. I read about this guy that paid off 90k in student loans. So it can be done. I wish you the best 😉



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