Or convocation, technically, since I’m pretty sure that’s the name they give the ceremony.
Oh, who the hell cares about that?! I’m graduating college! Yeah, yeah, I graduated almost two months ago, when placement ended, but today makes it official. Today, I put on the gown (and the cap, which is why I’m fighting with my hair–trust me when I say you don’t even wanna know what it looks like right now), and I walk across that stage along with the people who have made this three year trip with me.
This day looked unbelievably far away when we set out. We joked that we’d chained ourselves to school, that there was no end in sight. And at the time, there wasn’t: just three long years of work, of classes and tests and placement (oh sweet hell, was there ever placement). Just to make it more interesting, I set out in college with very little money saved up. It disappeared within the first year, and after that I scraped by. I swear, if I hear one more comment from my dad about how proud he is that I made it through college on such a shoestring budget, I am going to deck him.
Whoops, got sidetracked.
My point is, somehow, my classmates and I (well, the 50 or so of us who remain from our original 100), we made it. We went to the classes–for the most part–and studied for the tests–unless there was something interesting on TV, in which case we multitasked–and we went to placement (even when the school placements full of bratty children made us wish we could discipline them as we saw fit).
Now that day we thought would never come, the day that seemed so far away at the beginning, is suddenly here, and all of a sudden it feels like it’s a lot closer than any of us expected it to be. What seemed like an interminable cycle of classes, tests, and cramming our heads full of behavioural science is over. Come September, I won’t be going back to class and greeting my professors like the friends they’ve become. I live in the real world now, and by September I’ll (in theory) be working. I’ll be planning to start repayment of the loans I took out to get through college. I won’t be a student anymore.
Something ends here, today, and that’s almost as scary as it is awesome. But you know what? We worked for it, we worked our asses off (seriously, I’m not sure my ass has recovered from the college’s chairs.. but anyways), and we made it. We’ve earned the new start that we’re heading out into. There’s going to be frustration when we can’t find work–I know that, because I’m already there. That isn’t what today’s about. Today is about celebrating the work that went into getting me to this point, about looking back on the effort involved and knowing that I have earned this diploma. I don’t even have words for the rollercoaster ride of emotions this three-year college journey has taken me on, or for the one I’ll be riding throughout today (and tomorrow, when I watch my boyfriend take his turn at graduating).
So, to my fellow graduates of St Lawrence College’s Behavioural Science Technology diploma program, and to any other graduates who are celebrating an end and a beginning, I say congratulations. You earned it.
And, since fellow writer and Twitter friend Vicktor Alexander informs me that I now have to post a graduation picture on Twitter, somebody pass me a celebratory drink! 😉