Can I Graduate?

For those who just graduated or those entering their senior year...

Two years ago I was exactly in your shoes. Standing along side my class after a long day of waiting around and practicing the proper shakewithlefthand-grabdiplomawiththerighthand practice that we call graduation. 
You've accomplished something totally awesome, whether you've finally finished Middle School, High School, College or even beyond, you've hit some sort of land mark in your academic career. So you should be all smiles, holding hands with your beloved classmates, as Vitamin C's hit "Graduation" plays softly in the background, only to be interrupted with cheers from the crowd and a dramatic slow motion cap toss from you and your peers, right?

We are lead to believe that graduations are "it", they are the light at the end of the tunnel, they are the season finale, they are your last day as a child and the moment you are officially an adult. Every major sitcom or teen movie, makes you believe that this is a huge moment in your life. But in actuality, it didn't feel like that for me. I remember standing in my muu'uu (left) and just waiting to feel something. I waited to feel relieved, or excited, or sad or something but I was left feeling "meh." I looked around and saw the girls of my class crying their eye balls out, looking like hot messes and saw their parents in the crowd, crying their eye balls out and looking like hot messes and I frankly I wanted to barf.

Yes, I see why they are upset, but to me graduations seems more like a birthday. We build this day up for years, we wear special outfits, make special dinner arrangements, get money and gifts but the day always falls short. I never feel any different the day after, You celebrate this day and you can acknowledge why it should be special, I didn't feel any different the day after.
The day before graduation felt identical to the day after, other than the fact that my room smelled of beautiful flowers and I would never have to see any of those girls from my school again. Yes those were nice subtle changes to my atmosphere but it was nothing like John Hughes taught me it would be. Everything about graduation seems to phony to me, we are all pretending to be excited, lying when we say we will miss each other and lying to ourselves when we pretended like we enjoyed high school. 

Personally, I loved my school and I loved my education but I absolutely abhorred high school itself. Stupid fights, annoying girls, uncomfortable uniforms and puberty in general, is what high school is really made of. I feel like parading around on stage and holding hands and singing some cheesy song while we cry, is doing high school a disservice. You aren't fundamentally different when you graduate high school, if anything its a moment to celebrate yourself before college changes you. Before you do your first keg stand, or actually get home sick or realize that the assholes in high school are fundamentally no different than the assholes in college yet way more avoidable. We are lead to believe that graduation is SUCH A BIG DEAL, but in reality it really isn't. 

You don't need to cry, or force yourself to emote. You're life will be different when you enter college but only the in the best ways. Don't cry over high school because high school sucks tremendously and once you are done, you will forever be done. The speeches said will be stupid and full of empty words and cliches, you probably hated your valedictorian, or other random peers, but in a way, Graduation celebrates those people, the people who loved high school, and you can let them have that. I do however guarantee even they won't feel much different the day after the ceremony. I remember feeling vaguely disappointed that graduation wasn't more cliche, where is my Judd Nelson fist pump to commemorate the hallowed halls of high school!

But since it wasn't, and prom was lame, at least you can fall asleep knowing that there is nothing anyone can do to ever make you go back there...ever

We are given these place marker moments like our birthdays and graduations to mark time, these moments are supposed to be catalysis for change and they are supposed to make you feel different all of a sudden, but moments like these don't change you. Life changing moments are far more random, whether it is heart-break, falling in love, getting an amazing job, losing said job, or just meeting people who change your perspective, those are the moments that change you. 

So go, move that tassle thing to the right of your cap, accept the money your family sends you humbly and remember, your life isn't a sitcom and try not to have high expectations for graduation because most likely it will be boring. And if you are prone to crying, wear waterproof eyeliner girllll.

Did you graduate recently?
How did you enjoy lower education?
Have a great day and please keep it sassy,


  1. This was such an interesting read and I can totally relate. I graduated from high school last year, although Australian graduations are pretty varied and different from those in America. We graduate before out final exams. We had a big ceremony/mass (I went to a religious school) with all of our family/teachers/friends, where we formally graduate, accept our certificate from the principal and then step down again. We all sing together as a year level and then we all part, most people taking photos with friends, crying. The next day we have what we call 'muck up day' where we come dressed in a theme of some description (ours was harry potter) and we run around the school with silly string spraying all the teachers/students before doing demeaning/comic chants to the other year levels on the oval. Then we have our final whole school assembly which is complete with a slideshow from year 7 - 12 photos of everyone and it's always super emotional. Then, a month later we finish our exams and that's that.

    I was like you though, I was waiting for that moment to arrive. That moment of, I don't know, freedom, relief, bliss to wave over me but I never felt it. I never cried. I never embraced my friends or anything, in fact I was the opposite. If anything, I was really, really sad because I had only moved to the school in year 10 and I felt like I didn't make lasting connections with anyone. I was most upset about the fact that all of my friends at my old school were celebrating their time as well and I couldn't be with them. I was even in their final slideshow and I wasn't in mine at all. I felt like I would feel a lot better after my last exam but I felt so empty, I didn't feel like it was an achievement at all? I still kinda feel that way I guess.

    Sorry for the long comment! I really enjoyed this post though. It's very honest and true. I kinda wish I went to school in America so I could wear the graduation gowns and hats and have valedictorian speeches.

  2. I graduated and started high school... I would love to graduate college and be done with the system

  3. I felt exactly how you did at my graduation.

  4. Since you mentioned birthdays... Well, yesterday was mine. And not only the birthday is never that great day where everything, at least once, it's for you, but always leaves me with a vague and constant sense of disappointment and sadness. I've learned not to expect too much, and yet it seems to me to having run the all time, the all day, the all year, the whole life, and to be always at the same point.

    They should teach us that the most beautiful moments of our lives will not be those who have a specific name. Birthday, graduation day, prom night, and so on. But those moment that will catch us totally unprepared on normal days, on days that maybe have started badly before becoming etched in our memory.