Column: Putting on a show for the parents
Do you remember your high school graduation? You know, that time when you and your friends who you’ve grown up with laughed during the speech by the nerd of the school, er, valedictorian?
Remember shaking your principal’s hand or giving him a big hug, whether you liked him or not? Of course you do. You remember those times because graduating high school was it – the pinnacle of your scholastic career. That was, until college.
But now it may be time for you to graduate from the institution you have come to love and hate over time and you can’t wait to receive that diploma now because you know just how hard you worked for it. But will your college graduation be worth it?
Well, first off you have to either rent or buy a new cap and gown, when the last thing you want to do is spend any more money at this place. Then, you have to sit through a rather boring ceremony sitting around people you have most likely never met before.
And to top it all off, your parents are only there to see you and once you’re name has been called, they start to pack up their things and make a raucous as they leave. After all, there is no need for their presence any longer.
College graduations serve as an opportunity for families to act in the most selfish manner possible, all the while the point of them being to serve the opposite effect. Graduations should be about pride in your child, show love and respect, and the theme that resonates throughout should actually be selflessness. It should be the day that families join in congratulations for their child who has turned into an adult.
In theory, graduation is the time to celebrate. A celebration with friends who have spent time and laughs together, as well as all-night study sessions and the occasional keg party. It should be for families who have watched their child grow up before their eyes, not to mention spent thousands of dollars on them.
For these reasons, graduations should occur. The only problems are the fact that you aren’t celebrating with your friends because very rarely is the case that you will graduate at the same time with each other. Not to mention, the hooting, hollering and the obligatory “raise the roof” gesture that is sure to follow when the bullhorn isn’t obnoxious enough.
When parents attend a graduation ceremony, they come in with hopes of witnessing or experiencing something special when their child’s name is announced for everyone to hear. But what happens is not special. It’s not some magical moment that lasts all of three seconds when the university’s president smiles and shakes hands with your child.
It’s not magical for the graduate afterward, because whatever joy you may have had in that moment is deflated by the thought that out of the thousand graduates to shake the president’s hand, a few of them probably didn’t wash theirs. Graduating is the climax of a long trip that challenges you with exams and term papers but rewards you with knowledge and experience. The problem with college graduations doesn’t come with the intentions behind them, but rather with the execution. And until the selfishness from the parents and the lack of camaraderie from the students improves, there may be no point to walk at all.
But that’s okay, high school will still serve as a fun memory.