Graduation is a thing that can go either way. Some people look forward to it, others dread it.
I skipped my high school graduation because I was so keen to get out, and I didn’t want the formalities. I attended my university graduation, because I felt it was more worthy of attending. You have to meet criteria to get into a program and I’m pretty sure a year or two after I started my degree they made the admissions criteria just a little stricter.
You don’t hear though, about the adrenaline high that runs through your veins while you join in a procession to the town hall, beaming at people and not caring that the sun is in your eyes. And there’s the inevitable coming-down from that high, the one that puts you into a deep sleep and makes your eyes blurry with a mix of tears and fatigue.
You don’t hear about the hours spent wearing new shoes so as to break them in before the procession, or the little satchel tucked under the gown holding band-aids and spare makeup and batteries.
The guest-speaker at the ceremony tells you he spent months in a menial job after graduation, but he doesn’t tell you how long it took him to find that job.
And the duration of the day is spoken of in vague terms, you know that it takes “a few hours” but people don’t tell you of doing makeup in the car because you’re not used to the 6am wakeup, or that breakfast comes at 10:30am because that’s the earliest time you can get it. You don’t realize that it can take a full day, and that it can be wearying.
Maybe they don’t tell you of the last-minute terror, like when you’re about to step onto a stage in a play – you kind of are but you have no lines, and you spend those last few minutes fretting with sudden panic. Your only action is to shake someone’s hand, but it seems daunting all of a sudden.
And still, I wouldn’t trade my graduation experience for anything.