My cousin is graduating from high school today and I am overcome with sentimentality. Was it eight years ago that I sat in my white gown hopefully eating contraband M&M’s with my best friends in the Tacoma Dome? Was it just four years ago that I again trod the floor of the Tacoma Dome, this time in black, and with a greater sense of terror about where my life was going? Or a year ago even that I was hooded in the Huntsman Center, finally graduating with a life plan?
I thought it would be fun to dig through my paper archives and share with you some blurbs from the exceptionally fair weathered days of graduations past:
“It’s crazy though, because the next five years will probably determine my whole life. No pressure or anything! …. Lots of cool options, when it comes to careers and what to study in college. The whole world is in front of me! Weeeeee! I can do anything I want with my life! Ha! I can do whatever I want. If I wanted I could go find some dweeby singles ward guy and get married. I could go to college and become a teacher, a translator, a counselor- anything! … I can do anything I want! The world is my pancake and I’m ready for breakfast!!!!!”
-June 10, 2002
This is obviously the first time I had thought about my future. I’m glad that, after a few close calls, I didn’t follow through with the “dweeby singles ward guy” option.
“It seemed like the day would never come soon enough, and without really giving a care as to what happens after, well, it came. Suddenly it would seem—barring [sic] all classes are passed- that I am to be an adult, an educated person, some sort or worker. I can’t say that I’m particularly prepared for the finality of my educational pursuits but alas, the unpreparedness is my reality…
I cannot say that the post-graduate lifestyle will be without its struggles. The need for full-time employment is imminent. Greater independence must be obtained, as must a more fuel-efficient car. The blessings of love and family will bring their own set of stressors; still, well, the potential of life inspires too much hope to feel overwhelmed. Sure, Monday will come and I may feel some despair but that does not change the infinite possibilities for my future.”
-May 21, 2006
If a student wrote this, I would spend a lot of time debating about whether I'd give her an A- for being reasonably articulate or a B+ for being inflated and obnoxious, containing tense confusion and misusing words. She would probably get the A- as like, four times elsewhere in the entry she talks about how graduation made her really want to go to graduate school.
Bonus points because my life plan was to become “some sort of worker."
“I am nearly 25 and I feel like I haven’t done anything yet. I know I have to let go of that, take a deep breath, (<-- grad school made me put that comma there, so not me) & somehow I must believe that I can do what I said I would do…. I suppose that’s it. I have no deep thoughts about life right now, just a lot of peace about my choices.”
-May 16, 2009
I think by the time I got my MA, I had finally floated down to earth and found some real goals. Clearly after graduating so many times, its momentousness is lost on me. I now struggle to buy people sincere graduation cards because I’m like, “Really? I’ve graduated like a gazillion times. Do it a couple more times and then we'll talk.”
And so, class of 2010, I present you with the same wry card I presented myself with last year:
card available through Sycamore Street Press on Etsy. Check it out- they run a mean letterpress.
Photo links to the card as this is their sales photo.