Graduation: An After Thought

Sometimes I have a hard time trying to start off my blog posts because I don’t know how to open a topic. Other times I skip the introduction and just jump into the topic. This time I have a half way of both scenarios. So let’s begin: In my last post I talked about my graduation and how I felt then. Today I will write about my graduation and how I feel now.

For as long as I remember, I wanted to get my degrees. I wanted to march down that small hall, get up on stage, shake the dean’s hand and get my degrees and just walk away. I thought that once it all happened it would be like finishing a book; last sentence read, book closed and stored away. However, this whole trip has been like waves in an ocean, they go to and fro, rippling at every stone. Now that all the waiting, waking and shaking has been done I find myself sitting on my bed, staring aimlessly at my graduation gown, my tippets and my medals. I marvel at the colors, I appreciate the value and I wish I could do it all again.

I waited so long for it to happen and now that it has passed I wish I could rewind time and do it all over again. Throughout the ceremony I kept telling myself that even though it seemed tedious and long, I should appreciate that moment because it would be over too soon. Yes, there will be more graduations (at least two more), but there will never be a graduation in that university, with those people, at this age, in this mind-set. Nevertheless, I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t appreciate what that moment meant for me then and now it’s gone. Maybe I was stunted by surprise at actually going through with it. Maybe I was overwhelmed by all the emotions that were caused by the moment. Or even worse, maybe I was suppressing the realization of what it all meant. All the same, the moment has passed and with it a part of me has also gone. Since that moment, a part of me has slowly been stored into my memory. This is normal; we all outgrow our old habits, our old memories and our old lives. Yet, it is sad when we realize that it’s happening.  This moment feels a bit like trying to hold water; we may cup our hands to hold it in place but it will trickle down between our fingers until there is none. Then, we will only be left with our empty hands, wet with what once was.

We all go through this. One morning we are one person, we go to work, come back and in a month’s time we’ve changed. It may be fractions of change but it’s there. We don’t always notice what has been left behind or what we’ve outgrown until we are faced with it. In my case, I remember badgering my counselor for my Magna Cum Laude medals; I kept asking if I’d get two or one. In that moment it was so important to me to be recognized for my hard work and to keep topping myself no matter what. Now that I have them both, glistening and new, I don’t have a reason to prove myself to me or anyone else in my departments or university. Yes, it may seem like a weight has been lifted but something has been lost as well.

Now reader, don’t misinterpret my intentions. I am super happy for my accomplishment and I am ever grateful for what I have done. Attaining those medals mean I worked hard, they also mean that I am done. My time in my university is done; more than that, my life and who I was there are done. These are the things that flash at me when I look at my graduation gown.

That gown, the medals and the tippets, now in my possession symbolize what I had to let go; the things that I released in order to achieve my goal. It’s so much more than just thinking that I will never take class with those classmates ever again; that I will not be able to saunter into my mentor’s office to complain, and that I won’t be able to badger my boss in coffee break.  It means that a whole new me is in formation. New habits and responsibilities will be handed to me; new people will come into my life and old people will leave. And the worst part of all this is that there is nothing I can do to stop it. These are the things that my graduation symbolizes. These are the things that I am slowly starting to comprehend.

It’s difficult to take it all in (twss). It’s a bit tedious working with these feelings. Nevertheless, it is a process that must take place in order to properly move on. I will miss who I was and who I was with before my graduation. I will miss walking through the hallways, talking to the professors, fighting with my classmates and sharing with my friends; but I will love meeting new people, learning a new culture, working with other professionals and living with the new me. It’s a bit cheesy to say it, but it’s how you look at your glass; is it half full of half empty? Of course, the better question would be, would you drink it either way? In my case I, even if tastes bad, I’ll drink until the last drop because in the end it’s my cup and my drink. I may have not ordered it and I may not like it, but it’s all mine and if I don’t drink it no one will.

Life comes at you fast (la vida te da sorpresas y sorpresas te da la vida), and the only thing you can do is roll with the punches and hope at the end you have enough of a face to show the world.

Signing off


P.S. I will leave you guys with one of my favorite poems. It’s a dramatic monologue written by Lord Tennyson. It talks about living life to the fullest, until the end of your days.

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an agèd wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

	This my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

	There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought
	with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.



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