I expected to cry at graduation, but I didn’t.
I had this notion that walking down the aisle in my blue toga, clutching my diploma, shaking Fr. Jett’s hand, smiling at the camera, and singing my alma matter would feel overwhelmingly surreal, but it didn’t. My heart didn’t beat faster. No adrenaline rushed through my veins. My feet kind of hurt from wearing my new 3-inch heels though. I was flushed, but from all the humidity and heat.
I talked to some friends after and they felt the same way about graduation. Thankfully, I’m not alone! It felt like any other day, but with great make up and awesome blow dried hair.
Although, I did enjoy throwing my fake diploma (for this reason you get your real one afterwards fyi) up in the air and shouting “WOOOOO I’M A GRADUAAATE,” hugging and congratulating everyone afterwards. I felt happy to be with my family. We were complete for the occasion.
But four years ago, at my high school graduation, I remember our superintendent Mr. Brown telling batch ’08 that this day was special because it was the last time we would all be together, in one place, at one time.
It’s true. As we grow up our friendships become less circumstantial and more by choice. We’re no longer walking among common ground –Katipunan, MVP, JSEC, classmates, terror professors, etc. It takes more effort to see your friends; to have something in common with your friends. You don’t have the luxury to hang out with everybody and the reckless realization is that you won’t want to. So, you become picky, with your time and with your friends. Well, at least that’s what I’ve heard. Lately, that’s what I’ve been experiencing myself.
I guess that’s what makes graduation feel bitter sweet. We worked hard to achieve this milestone and we’re proud that we have. We have every right to. We did this not only for ourselves, but for our parents who worked tirelessly to put us through school.
But we also risk not being able to see our friends as much, or the crush we hope to run into the hallway again. We risk putting all that hard work to waste as we try to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives.
I didn’t cry at my graduation. When I told my older sister that I felt normal afterwards she just laughed. She told me that she didn’t feel overwhelmed when she had her blue graduation years ago either.
Maybe I’ve been spending so much time outside of school lately that graduating feels like it really didn’t change anything (except my employment status haha!) Maybe in truth, I graduated a long time ago.
Anyways below are some great commencement speeches from three different people and pictures from graduation itself!
Jay Jaboneta: On being men and women for others “There are no accidents in life”
David Foster Wallace: This is water “There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”” (One of the most important lessons I learned on my first day of philosophy class)
Conan O Brien: Darthmouth Speech “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” (Truth)