Graduation Musings: How to Survive and Appreciate Graduation Season!

Graduation, Accomplishments and Unity

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremonies of my boyfriend, and one of my best friends from camp. Usually mention of graduation ceremonies leads to a discussion of how terrible, long and boring graduations are. To be fair, after attending two graduations, I was inclined to agree, contributing to the complaints. The only thing I remember about both ceremonies, however, is the joy I saw on the graduates faces. If you are feeling down or sad, go to a graduation ceremony. You will be lifted by the joy, excitement and unity these ceremonies create.

Tears, Joy and Excitement

The first graduation I attended was my friends’. She had earned her master’s degree in Applied Historical Research, and she has worked like crazy to earn this degree. Between late nights, turning down social events, and working at least one job, she has put in the work. During pomp and circumstance (the quintessential graduation song), when she and the other graduates marched down the aisle, tears welled up in my eyes. When ROTC marched in during the flag ceremony, and sang the national anthem, tears welled up in my eyes. When a violinist and pianist played a melodic, gorgeous rendition of America the Beautiful, tears welled up in my eyes. When my friend crossed that stage, grabbed her diploma and smiled at the camera, I practically lost it. We all came to participate in something greater than ourselves. While a graduation ceremony in and of itself isn’t an earth shattering event, it’s the feeling of unity that they create.

National Anthem, Diversity and Hope

My favorite part of any ceremony is the National Anthem. A baritone member of the Boise Police Force sang. His voice was molasses—thick, rich, sweet. Accompanying his deep voice, were the voices of the audience. Our tones tugged on my heart strings. We were all different. There were graduates sitting below us, professors across from the graduates, and family, friends and loved ones. Yet, when we sang the National Anthem, like any good choir, we became one voice. It seems so fitting in a time filled with such political divisions and angry, violent discourse. For one moment, people from all backgrounds, education levels, races, ethnicities, political affiliations, we were all one. We were all proud to be celebrating the accomplishments of these beautiful humans. I was touched. Imagine the greatness, the kindness, the hope, that we as a country could accomplish, if we put aside our differences, and reminded ourselves that we all want the same thing. We want the betterment of humanity. Most of us just have different ideas of how to get there.

Our view from Graduation Round 1

Graduation Round Two

The second round of graduation was just as powerful as the first. Even the second time, the music still touched my soul just as much as it did the first time. While the crowd was significantly rowdier (there had definitely been some prior day drinking 😊 ) it was just as moving. This time, watching my boyfriend walk across that stage, almost meant more than my own graduation. I have walked with him through all the sacrifices, the ups and the downs. Seeing the joy on his face as he picked up his diploma was priceless. My heart leapt as I ran to him after the ceremony. Joy emanated from him, and when I hugged him, I could feel the tension release. Granted two graduations were a lot, but I can only look on people who complain about the length of ceremonies with sadness. They missed the whole point. We were together able to witness a unifying version of the national anthem, and the joy on every single graduate’s face as they cross that stage. We were able to witness a defining moment in people’s lives. One that people work their asses of to get too, and we are the lucky few that get to experience this with them.

What is your favorite moment in graduation ceremonies? Which graduation was your favorite? Comment below 😊