Monday, June 15, 2009

pomp & circumstance

Graduation is a funny thing.

It's an arbitrary day, where we're handed a piece of paper that somehow represents 4+ years of work at some level. We wear a gown and funny hats, and everyone cheers that we made it. We managed to get through the requirements that someone said we should.

And then it's celebrated wildly.

For me, graduation has always felt funny. I'm sure that part of the issue in high school was that, as a band member, I had attended three other graduations, and this felt just like another one, really. It was long, it was boring, and I walked across a stage and shook someone's hand and suddenly I was supposed to feel different.

Well, I didn't. And I didn't again for my college graduation. I think graduating is an accomplishment, but I guess it's hard for me in both cases to feel like I was challenged. In high school and in college, a few classes were difficult, but not most. College can be difficult, but most of my education classes just plain weren't. It was expected I would do fine in both high school and college, and that I would graduate. And I did.

High school graduation was a bit more exciting. I was never a kid who wanted desperately to escape my hometown, but college was still an enticing prospect in my mind. College graduation was somewhat different in that I wasn't a big enough part of any group on campus to get a send-off of any kind (unlike high school, where there were a few special graduate events), and I didn't have any plans lined up for the future. High school graduation was a step towards something new and different, and college is, too- but it's a lot scarier.

I'm in no hurry to grow up and be an adult. I've graduated, I'm engaged, but there's a part of me that would love to spend another year or two just like I am now, without having to start a real job or pay for everything myself or deal with all the real world things that come with adulthood.

I think that could all be exciting, don't get me wrong. If I had a job, and I could start setting up a classroom and planning great curriculum and decorating a new apartment- it'd be scary, but there would be an element of fun.

Without the job, I can't start setting up or planning, and I don't want to commit to a new place to live. Without having a job, I have to experience all of the aspects of the real world except for the fun ones.

And no one seems to understand why I can't get too into celebrating my graduation. Completing my major doesn't feel like a particularly surprising or commendable accomplishment for me personally, and now that I've graduated, I have little to look forward to besides a so-far-fruitless job search in the current economic times. Congratulations to me?

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