Stories They Don’t Tell You

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.

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8 thoughts on “Stories They Don’t Tell You

  1. And they don’t tell you that life after graduation is not all rosy and things don’t go the way you planned at all.
    Still as a landmark in one’s life, graduations count, I suppose.

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  2. “The guest-speaker at the ceremony tells you he spent months in a menial job after graduation, but he doesnโ€™t tell you how long it took him to find that job.”

    Yup. I wish there was a guide book or something, telling you how to live after graduation… it’d be nice to be continuously taught afterwards how to prepare for life in general with a degree. I thought it’d be all writing and relevant jobs after graduation, but it’s turned out quite the opposite. I hope you find a job or whatever it is you want to find nice and quickly!

    I skipped my uni graduation out of anxiety and stage fright… almost regretting it. Memories like that can’t ever be remade… so kudos to you for going. You’re brave ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. The funny thing is, when I finished high school they did give us a guide book. It was a cheaply-printed thing, with a cover intended to appeal to teenagers and the words crowded together on the page. It was kind of helpful, but I looked at it recently and chucked it out. So, maybe a guide book wouldn’t be too helpful after all.

      Oh, that’s a shame – I do agree you can’t remake such memories. I skipped my high school graduation and barely regretted it. Strange, the things we might or might not regret.

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  3. While reading your fine words, I found myself graduating all over again. I was caught up in the excitement and didn’t realize my life just changed forever. There was a bow wave of young ideals suddenly dumped in a slackwater eddy of mystery and doubt. I had no clue what to do. But, I believed in myself. My adult life began with closed eyes, a wistful prayer, a cheeky smile and then a step into the abyss. I never stopped, never looked back, and still push forward – now 40 years later. I only had to believe and it became true enough.

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    1. Thank you! I also had a ‘highlights of’ if you’re interested; it’s called To Cap It All Off.

      I love the way you refer to ‘stepping into an abyss’ – that’s my to-go phrase for going into the unknown. (At least on drafts) So far I’m in the abyss and have found a torch, so that’s something ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

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