It’s been a long time coming but last Friday was the day that I officially became a graduate. Many of my friends had already had their graduation days and I had that sinking feeling that mine would never live up to their individual experiences. It certainly reached beyond my expectations, which has made me feel a lot better about getting a grade I wasn’t a hundred percent happy with.
I woke up last week not really sure if I wanted to go or not and was all for cancelling it with my family. So far as I was concerned, graduation was not an opportunity to be taken willingly, but one which should have been brushed aside in favour for the hundreds of other things I thought I could have been doing with my time. With hindsight, it seems ridiculous that I even considered not going. University was hard for me, and going to graduation placed closure on the toughest three years of my life so far. The whole event was beautiful, despite me feeling a wee bit bitter at not being able to use the theatre as previous years had done. I felt pretty damn fancy in my cap and gown, although I did find all the hair pins holding it in one place caught in my hair later that day. I never realised that once you’ve graduated, you have the right to wear those gowns whenever you want. I don’t know a time or a place that I’d ever need to wear them again, but it’s nice to know I have the option.
A lot of the speech during the ceremony hit close to home. A lot of statistics were listed, and my own personal situation had me placed firmly in many of them. Working part-time, being the first member of the family to go to university, coming from a low involvement area (mostly because my area is predominantly the elderly)… It made it feel even more special when it dawned on me that I was the only student who studied English with History. In a way, I had my very own presentation.
Despite the ceremony being an important closing act for me, I’m definitely glad I rejected the idea of the graduation ball. I’ve never really been interested with the nightlife at my university. I run on the assumption that all clubs are essentially the same. So far as I’m concerned, they will always be sticky, smell of urine and vomit and will cost at least five times more than you’d expect. I’d ventured into our student union “bar” once; on a campus tour before I’d applied. I think my alcohol avoidance has something to do with it over the last year. Not going isn’t something I think I’ll ever regret.
If you’re considering skipping your graduation, my advice is to not. If you don’t go, you’d miss out on one of the most amazing milestone occasions of your life and I can guarantee you’d regret it.