Thursday, June 16, 2011

Graduation

Graduation. The culmination of thirteen years of school in the U.S.A.. People make such a big deal out of it. All pomp and ceremony, speeches, cheap robes and cardboard hats that cost a fortune to buy but probably less than a few dollars to make. The simple tassel in school colors hanging from the cap and dangling from it the year. What is this ceremony for, truly?

It's for the parents, the community, the teachers...the adults of the area. It is a way of telling how wonderful a job everyone's done to get the kids to where they are now. But really, what is graduation to the students? 

To me, it was a rather boring ceremony punctuated by a few boring speeches and one or two amazing ones. It was a way of bragging. It's an important boring ceremony though. I don't think any of those parents in the stands will ever look at their child with quite the same looks. They're no longer babies, to be coddled and cared for. With the walk to the stand to accept a diploma, students enter into a different world. 

A coming of age ceremony it what graduation is meant to be. A way to say "I am an adult now. I am able to be responsible for myself, for my actions." For some people, I'm sure that purpose was served. For me, I'm still not sure. 

For me, graduation was boring. It was cold, and rainy. My hat is still damp(2 days after) and my robe hangs upon my wall, as plain as it was before. A yellow carnation is dying on my shelf, a gold and blue tassel hangs over my bed, dangling with an eagle and 2011 attached, and a medallion hangs from my coat hook, its yellow ribbon starkly bright yellow against my white walls and dark jackets.

Maybe it just hasn't hit me fully yet. Maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, I still believe I'll have to go back, for one reason or another. Maybe, it just wasn't the ceremony I needed. While other parents and students cried as they cheered and hugged, I bounced impatiently wanting to get to the car to leave the place I would consider somewhat of a prison of the last four years of my life. Being in Running Start allowed me a leash, but always I had to return to the regular school. Be it for paperwork, or to turn something in... While others went with tears, I felt dispassionate, unaffected, bored. It hits me now rather than then... but no tears fall in streams like those of my classmates. A few, maybe...but for what? For a childhood left behind? For the terror of realizing I'm no longer in the shelter of a controlled environment? For memories that I almost don't care to remember? 

Or is it just for fear of the unknown? Because as I sit here and think over what graduation should have meant to me, and of what it actually means to me... the one thought that continues to return to my mind is...

What now?