Just before the actual ceremony was where I felt the most tradition and comradery I’ve ever felt whilst schooling with my class.
The graduates were sitting in the holding cell – the auditorium – the hour before the ceremony began and I sat in the very back (because I needed to get to the field first as an A last name). I stood up and surveyed my 500 or so classmates in front of me, rows of black and gold (our colors), attempting to put on those darn caps that, according to my sister, look like a bird beak biting your head. We’re all uncomfortable. We’re all nervous. And we’re all dressed the same, in uniform rows, waiting to get this over with.
It’s an interesting thing, graduation is. We dressed up in these hot gowns that we’ll never wear again, and participated in the traditions that probably every American graduate who walked has participated in, and we still just wanted it to be over quickly and tidily.
I anxiously waited to find all my good friends and hug them congratulate them, and take a picture with them. That was what I wanted most that day. And the ceremony conveniently brought all my classmates into one place so that I could take pictures with them and hug them in one efficient sweep of the football field.
These pictures won’t be glorious reminders of this moment in my life – that moment was two hours of sweating in assigned seats. The pictures, really, capture my high school friends and me as we crossed the threshold into officially “being done.” We’d been “done” for a while, but in that moment, in a frumpy gown and uncomfortable shoes, we were finally done. And that’s probably why I wanted to hug everyone so much and take their pictures – I was so happy for myself and for them and glad we were there together.
This is how I will remember my high school graduation. All of us who made it through primary and secondary schooling went through the same ceremony as the previous graduating classes, and now we all are officially graduates together. I guess that’s what makes the ceremony special: it puts everyone in the same place. Anyone who had been “done” for a while is finally and officially done; anyone who had been stressing and worrying about school up until now is finally and officially done. We’re all done. And it doesn’t matter whose graduation parties one was going to or where one was going for senior week during those two sweaty hours – we were freaking done! Together! The class of 2014, ladies and gentlemen, is done! Throw your caps, please!