Well, it’s time for the past four or so years of your life to come to their thrilling conclusion — it’s college graduation time. Chances are, your graduation ceremony is going to be long, so you’re probably going to get distracted by your own thoughts since you don’t have much else to do.
If you’ve graduated already, here are some thoughts you might have had, and if you’re still waiting to get that piece of paper you paid tens of thousands of dollars for, here’s what you have to look forward to come college graduation day.
1. “I’m not gonna miss this place.”
From the all-nighters to the caffeine addiction to the student loans, what did college even give you? There was the bad food, the uncomfortable beds, the nights you spent praying, “Someone, please write my research paper,” the hell weeks of midterms and finals. At least college graduation marks the end of your time here, and you’ll never have to see this place again.
2. “Who are these people?”
College graduation makes you realize how much of a bubble you live in. At a certain point, you rarely have classes with people outside of your major, meaning you’ll only recognize so many people in the crowd.
And if you’re only on campus to go to classes, you’re probably wondering if all these people sitting around you even go to your school or if they’re actors your college hired to make graduation look more impressive.
3. “I wonder what everyone else is doing after college.”
Jobs? Grad school? Absolutely no idea at all? If you’re in the latter group, you might spend college graduation worrying that you’re the only one with no clue where to go from here. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Just ignore the caps people decorated with quotes like “the best is yet to come” and the logos of where they’re going to for grad school. You’ll figure out what you’re doing soon.
4. “Where are my friends?”
Alphabetical order is a bitch (unless you and your friends have close enough last names, in which case, congrats). You can hardly even turn your head around to search for people you know with all your regalia on.
And good luck trying to find people you know anyway when you’re all dressed the same. Who knew everyone looks the same when they’re wearing a cap and gown? Maybe you’ll see someone you know when they get called to receive their diploma.
5. “Who’s the person handing out the diplomas?”
Are they the dean of something or a chair on some committee? Who knows, you zoned out during the person’s speech that introduced them. You’re pretty sure you’ve never even seen them on campus before, though. But when they congratulate you later for graduating, you’ll smile and thank them and shake their hand.
6. “Shake with the left, take with the right? Or right then left? Which is it?”
They told you at practice and when you lined up before the ceremony how to take your diploma, but now your guess is as good as anyone else’s (for the record, you take your diploma with your left hand and shake the presenter’s hand with your right). You would look at what everyone else is doing for a clue, but you can hardly see the stage over the sea of caps.
7. “Why do we have to wear all this stuff?”
You probably got dressed that morning wondering how anyone can look good in a cap and gown. The cap never stays on right and messes up your hair. The gown looks like a garbage bag and will make you sweat no matter how hot or cold it is at the ceremony.
And the hood? What even is that? Everyone at a college graduation looks like they’re about to be strangled by a tangle of cords and sashes and velvet.
Get ready to ask the people around you 10 times if everything you’re wearing looks good, and get ready to realize everything is crooked when you get your graduation pictures.
8. “Oh, someone I recognize.”
In your boredom, you’ll probably flip through your program and scan the columns of names, hoping to see something familiar. It may take a while to see one you think sounds familiar, but it’s gotta happen at some point, right? Maybe you had a class with that person freshmen year. That feels like forever ago.
9. “Don’t forget to smile.”
Every single person at a college graduation is taking pictures. Even if you think you’re not going to end up in a picture, you will.
Yeah, you’re bored out of your mind, but you might as well try to look like you’re having a good time. You don’t want to be that person in the background of someone’s picture that looks like they’re about to fall asleep at their own college graduation.
10. “That’s my best friend!”
There’s nothing like the thrill of finally seeing someone you recognize cross the stage after sitting through what feels like hours of your college graduation.
It’s even better when that person is the one who stuck by you through all the complaining about that professor you hated, who joined you in a movie marathon even though you both had work to do. Go ahead and blow out the eardrums of the strangers sitting next to you and cheer for your best friend.
11. “Oh my god, I’m graduating.”
At a certain point, it might hit you: you’re at your college graduation. You’re about to get your degree and be done with all of this. Your friends and family are there cheering you on. Some of your professors are there to celebrate with you. Everything you worked so hard for is all coming together. This isn’t so bad after all.
12. “Maybe I will miss this place.”
Sure, it wasn’t all great. But there’s still a lot you’re going to miss about college. The new friends you’ve made, the interesting classes, your favorite spots to sit on campus between those classes.
Maybe there’s even a professor or two who actually taught you something and had an impact on your life. It’ll be nice to start a new chapter and everything, but you do have to admit it’ll be bittersweet to leave this one behind.