(Plus, who really wants to be at a graduation? They are torture, both for the audience and the graduates. I don't want to put anyone through that.) Anyway, back to the post...
For me, college was the equivalent of many people’s high school experience, complete with bullying, alienation, and rumors. I didn’t fit in with most of my peers, especially from the music department. Every time I am around those people I become a shell of who I truly am; I become the person they think I am. I don’t like her, and I don’t want to celebrate her. I want to leave college looking forward, not back, and honor the person I am rather than the person who struggled with all those obstacles, many of which were created by the people I would have stood beside in a cap and gown.
College wasn’t all bad though. I studied in Germany for a year; found a vibrant community of martial artists; lived in a house with plaid carpet with my best friend; found my passion; and met a mentor who taught me about life. Overall, that’s an amazing list and I don’t want to detract from it by putting myself in a negative environment in an attempt to celebrate it.
The day after my graduation, my little sister graduated from high school. I found myself quite excited and extremely proud of her. She was fifth in her class (.01 behind the salutatorian) and will be studying pre-veterinary science at Kansas State University starting this fall.
I didn’t regret my choice not to walk in the slightest as I spent my weekend with my family. It reminded me that I should be proud of myself and should take a day or two to celebrate my completing my degrees by doing something special. I have no idea what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll take a weekend and travel somewhere, after all, getting out of Hays is always a treat. All I know is that while it is tempting to simply shrug and say “I graduated. So what?” I am actually proud of it and it is an accomplishment that many people are not fortunate enough to pursue. I need to allow myself to savor victory, victory that I graduated, that I did not have my spirit broken by the challenges I faced, and that I am grateful for those experiences. I however, do not need to feel gratitude toward the majority of the people I would have stood next to during pomp and circumstance.
So here’s to college, to life, to an education, and to the safe places we find in the communities we build for ourselves.
Entering the real world,