Graduating from graduations

An Essay By Christa // 5/19/2008

The car was stopped due to traffic and congestion just outside campus. We groaned and grumbled about how we had to pick this exact time on this exact day to go run errands in this part of town. People, young and old, were streaming by dressed in their Sunday best. A church function, we wondered?

Someone walked past us, outpacing us in our car by quite a bit, dressed in a flowing robe and a silly hat with a bright tassel bouncing in time to the lady’s step. If that wasn’t enough, a bright orange temporary sign seen just in the distance clued us in. Commencement parking. College graduation! I cheered up tremendously and grinned at the passing graduates and their families and friends, making up stories about their degrees and how old they were and what they’d be doing after graduation. Ryan laughed at me, saying with my own graduation less than two weeks prior, he’d have thought I’d be sick of graduations. Not so, I informed him. Traffic wasn’t budging so we started comparing notes on graduations. We’d gone through our college undergraduate graduation together. I had my master’s and doctorate, and was teasing him about outpacing him academically. He easily teased back, “sure, you’ve got more degrees now, but just wait ‘till I finish graduate school. Do you even have a high-school diploma?”

Well…. Kind of? I didn’t have an official graduation from home-school. In a sense, my graduation came on my very first day of college: completely and utterly alone and on my own for the first time, trying to make the cold, tiny concrete dorm room feel more homey with a brightly colored quilt and few books I’d brought from the farm. On that day, I was no longer a high-school aged home-schooler. I had, only then, graduated to something else: something only vaguely definable – college student. Whether I’d be a successful college student, or whether I would become something else, had yet to be seen.

I became sad as I sat in the car, watching the graduates trotting by, as I realized that I would never again join their ranks in dashing to the ceremony, cursing my heels and oversized robes. I had gone through my very last graduation. No longer would my life’s achievements be defined by that walk across the stage, in front of the world, grinning like a hyena and clutching a piece of paper with clammy hands. I would never again listen to the graduation speaker telling me (me!) to go out into the world and make a difference.

Graduation: that right of passage that proclaims to the world, “I am no longer definable as what I was. I am now something else.” Whether it is walking across a stage to much pomp and circumstance, or it is the defining moment that speaks to you that you have irrevocably changed, that you are no longer who you were: you are that plus something new and intangible. Although I will no longer walk across the stage, I anticipate that there will be other moments in my life to graduate to: promotions at work, kids of my own.

If you are going through that graduation, whether it be from home-schooling or from some other aspect of life, I wish you well with all my heart. Still, I sighed as our car finally pulled away from the commencement turmoil. For myself, I'm still not sure about the new me, and I cling jealously to my old persona. Perhaps I am longer officially a student, but in my heart I like to think that I will always be one.

Comments

I know what you mean. I

I know what you mean. I graduated last year from high school. It's been fun but sometimes I still want to go back to how it used to be.

Heather | Wed, 05/21/2008

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Cheer up!

It is now your turn to assist OTHERS in achieving THEIR graduations! Whether by the encouragement from your writings, or teaching through your life, you will find yourself becoming an inspiration wherever you go... I, as a struggling undergraduate in a challenging Opera Program, find myself inspired already to believe that yes, I CAN do this, and do it well!!!

Anonymous | Thu, 11/06/2008

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