I skipped my graduation last time I went to college. Maybe it was because I took almost eight years to finish one little bachelors. One day, perhaps, I’ll write about how I got into grad school, but not today. Today is about how I got OUT of grad school.
My cohort was, and always has been, a bit rowdier than the others. We showed up early to help each other figure out how the regalia is supposed to be worn and mostly take self portraits on our cell phones. We all hugged and chatted about our families who have come to celebrate and who would go eat where afterward. We got choose for ourselves what order we stood in and refused to obey the order of single file.
As the band began pomp and circumstance we filed in. Everyone wore sunglasses to shield from the sun and hide how happy last night was. Last night lasted till today for some; my right hand neighbor packed a silver flask.
We marched and the band played. We sat. The Dean said hello and then some guy talked. Everything rolled right along, then it didn’t. Our school is large and those robes are hot. Happiness lasts only so long when one is sweating. We felt bad for those without a cheering section so we cheered for people we don’t know. I blame heat stroke.
Speaking in front of large crowds from a script is not easy. One of my professors did this rather well. Well enough that I inquired of this dignified scholar if their cell phone was in fact turned off during the ceremony, via text message, during the ceremony. The ringer was off, but not the phone. I know because I received a response telling me to “shut up.”
I took my turn walking across the stage, I moved my tassel, and we all gave a cheer.
I gave a small sigh.
Many of my classmates expressed relief that it is all over. I don’t feel that. I admit, I could not maintain this pace much longer, but I am not glad it is over. I am happy to graduate but I know the alternative. I have lived it. I miss it already.
There will be plenty of time to worry about paychecks, hustle for money. Rare is the time to wrestle with ideas. Rarer still is the company of others who will engage in long discussions on matters most find boring, even annoying.
I have had the privilege to spend the past nine months reading and writing on subjects I love. I appreciate this.
Today I am happy.