There’s something bittersweet about commencement.
It’s funny how, now that I sit down to write, I don’t quite know how I feel about it all. I’m a few days removed from commencement now. And I’m realizing just how many confusing emotions graduation brings out. It’s a bittersweet event. Within the moment it didn’t feel quite so for me, but in retrospect it kind of does. Just a little.
So much pomp and circumstance and symbolism. We move the tassels I suppose to symbolize our moving from one place to another. I think. I actually don’t have any idea why we do that, but it’s got some meaning. It must. But it’s just funny how we see our classmates walk, we walk, we shake hands and get our diplomas, we all take pictures holding our diplomas, we all celebrate our getting our degrees, but it’s an empty diploma holder. We all ready have the diploma, so we only walk for the symbolism of it all and for the sake of the moment.
It goes to show you the importance of symbolism in our culture, and how much society actively celebrates academics and strives to recognize that it’s something of value and importance. I’m not really disagreeing with any of it, but there is something funny about there being no actual diploma in the ceremony.
Every graduation is a whole sea of caps and gowns, and a sea of faces as well. Hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, some of whom you’ve never even seen prior to that moment where you realize you’re all graduating from the same institution. It’s strange knowing that you have shared the independent experience of going to the same school, yet you never really feel that sense of connect with all those other people until that final moment where you realize you’re all graduating together.
Some of my classmates I’m likely to see again here and there, but the majority I’m likely to never see again. At least for a very long while, until some distant day where we might cross paths again somewhere down the line.
I had all ready graduated in December, but there was this curious finality about going to the ceremony itself. It drew a line in the sand for me, and made it more tangible that a period of time was officially done in my life. Something I was all ready good with. But it’s just a different feeling to have it ended with an elaborate celebration instead of having it ended by just not going there anymore. I was debating whether or not I should in the weeks leading up considering I didn’t feel much of an urge to celebrate, but I’m glad I walked.
It’s over, my undergrad career is a wrap. It’s been a wrap. My right contact just suddenly rolled up into my eye and burns like hellfire, so I’ll take that as a sign from God that I’m rambling too much. I’ll wrap up the post commenting on how they call it “commencement” instead of just graduation. I’m now reminded of a saying I’ve recently heard, which is something to the effect that it’s called commencement because it’s not an end, it’s a beginning. As something good is about to commence within your life.
I like that paradigm. Hopefully this is the start of something positive for all of us.
Best wishes to all the other graduates out there!