Many of this week’s graduates are not the least bit excited about the commencement ceremonies.
I’m truly surprised whenever I hear a graduating senior state they are only “walking” for their parents, or even though they are walking, they don’t really care whether their families come see the ceremony.
This might be because of something my brother explained to me. He said, “Hey, it’s Northridge; it’s not like it’s Yale or something.” But just because we aren’t graduating from some prestigious school, does not mean we should not be proud of everything we have accomplished.
All of this week’s graduates have worked between four and six (maybe even seven) long, hard years, with many students holding busy lives outside the college sphere. We’ve dragged ourselves to a commuter college, with many of us having demanding jobs, children to take care of, lack of transportation, and many other issues that could have potentially deterred us from completing school. But they didn’t. We made it.
Maybe it’s because I am the first in my family to receive a bachelor’s degree, but I am not just proud of myself for getting the degree. I am also proud of my friends and family for sticking with me throughout this entire process. I get excited whenever I think about participating in the ceremony, and I can’t wait to share that day with those I love.
Receiving my degree in the mail will be an accomplishment I experience by myself, but the commencement exercise is a time when my family and friends can be proud of me, as well as proud of themselves.
It’s a night when my mom will be able to see that all of her hard work, both financial and emotional, wasn’t wasted. She’ll be able to see in my face how much I appreciate all that stuff she wanted that she put on hold so she could help me out in my academic struggles. It’s a night for my various roommates to be proud of themselves for not killing me, even though I never helped clean the house because I didn’t want to spend my one hour between classes and work tidying up.
My friends and family will finally understand why I broke plans with them, didn’t return calls, or said I was too busy to think, blink, or sleep. They will finally get to see my campus, a place I spent many antagonizing hours working on projects and taking final exams, and they will meet the professors who have helped shape my life.
To every student who is graduating, I hope you take the time to reflect on all your hard work. Choose to be proud of who you are, and how much energy you have vested into your education.
For the last night before we have to step out into “the real world,” let’s savor all of the memories and accomplishments we have made, and let’s take the time to say thank you to all those who have supported us along the way.