There’s something bittersweet about commencement.

It’s funny how, now that I sit down to write, I don’t quite know how I feel about it all. I’m a few days removed from commencement now. And I’m realizing just how many confusing emotions graduation brings out. It’s a bittersweet event. Within the moment it didn’t feel quite so for me, but in retrospect it kind of does. Just a little.

So much pomp and circumstance and symbolism. We move the tassels I suppose to symbolize our moving from one place to another. I think. I actually don’t have any idea why we do that, but it’s got some meaning. It must. But it’s just funny how we see our classmates walk, we walk, we shake hands and get our diplomas, we all take pictures holding our diplomas, we all celebrate our getting our degrees, but it’s an empty diploma holder. We all ready have the diploma, so we only walk for the symbolism of it all and for the sake of the moment.

It goes to show you the importance of symbolism in our culture, and how much society actively celebrates academics and strives to recognize that it’s something of value and importance. I’m not really disagreeing with any of it, but there is something funny about there being no actual diploma in the ceremony.

Every graduation is a whole sea of caps and gowns, and a sea of faces as well. Hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, some of whom you’ve never even seen prior to that moment where you realize you’re all graduating from the same institution. It’s strange knowing that you have shared the independent experience of going to the same school, yet you never really feel that sense of connect with all those other people until that final moment where you realize you’re all graduating together.

Some of my classmates I’m likely to see again here and there, but the majority I’m likely to never see again. At least for a very long while, until some distant day where we might cross paths again somewhere down the line.

I had all ready graduated in December, but there was this curious finality about going to the ceremony itself. It drew a line in the sand for me, and made it more tangible that a period of time was officially done in my life. Something I was all ready good with. But it’s just a different feeling to have it ended with an elaborate celebration instead of having it ended by just not going there anymore. I was debating whether or not I should in the weeks leading up considering I didn’t feel much of an urge to celebrate, but I’m glad I walked.

It’s over, my undergrad career is a wrap. It’s been a wrap. My right contact just suddenly rolled up into my eye and burns like hellfire, so I’ll take that as a sign from God that I’m rambling too much. I’ll wrap up the post commenting on how they call it “commencement” instead of just graduation. I’m now reminded of a saying I’ve recently heard, which is something to the effect that it’s called commencement because it’s not an end, it’s a beginning. As something good is about to commence within your life.

I like that paradigm. Hopefully this is the start of something positive for all of us.

Best wishes to all the other graduates out there!

83 thoughts on “Commencement

  1. Isn’t it strange to be somewhere, so intensely, and know you’ll never be there again, not in the way you are? Hope you learned what you were seeking, and that your hard-won education serves you well in whatever you do next. Congratulations.

  2. I remember having these same thoughts. Everything feels surreal for a while. For years after, I had a reoccurring dream I never finished a required course for graduation. Usually this signaled a work deadline. Nice to have that paper just to prove it was dream after all.

    Good luck to you and congratulations!

  3. Congratulations & all the best to you on your next phase in life!
    My oldest child is getting ready to graduate HS in a couple of weeks. I’m not ready.

  4. Congratulations! Even I finished my school a few months back, so I kind of know what you’re feeling. I have had 2 months to think about all that I wanted to be in life.
    Yup, made some major decisions based on little knowledge. Hope it does not throw back on my face some day ahead in the future.

    Here is hoping for a bright new phase in our lives!
    Regards, Devika 😀

  5. We were recenty at my daughter’s graduation ceremony in London and I could see this joy the student’s had all together and it was also a very special short moment for all of us and then life went on.

    • I definitely hear all of that, it’s a unique moment where everybody’s together sharing that experience and then everybody goes their own separate ways, not good or bad just that’s how it flows. Thanks so much for the comment!

  6. Congratulations! And I like how you’ve reflected on it. 🙂 It’s an interesting turning point in one’s life, and turning points are usually marked by some degree of symbolism.
    Just thought I should point out a minor issue in your otherwise perfect English: it’s “already”, not “all ready” 😉

    • Thanks so much! And ahh true I always try to remember that and I always end up spelling it that way anyway haha I had it drilled into me early on in life to write it that way but I do know the more proper way now, hopefully it’s not too late for me to change haha happy blogging!

      • Well you craft your opinion beautifully and have a unique way to setting it out which is always a thrill to read. More so you make it in a way that’s not a bore to read and more engages you to read on to see how you perseve that topic, which as a twelve year old i could not do myself so its great to find people who express themselves in such manners

  7. First of all well done on your achievements. I agree with what you said, there is something quite final about graduation and that sense of what’s next? I love the term ‘commencement’ I’ve never heard that before, I’m definitely going to use that, thank you, I really enjoyed reading your blog. Congratulations and all the best for the future 🙂

  8. Congratulations! It’s a rite of passage. In life many times we have beginnings and endings. Some are good. Some are good but a little sad. Some are horrendous. Some are unbelievablely and outstandingly intense with all sorts of emotions. The highs and lows in life are similar to walking through mountains and valleys. Right now you are at the mountain top with so much ahead of you. Savor the moment. Graduating from college is a major accomplishment. It’s a marathon of classes and tests and writing essays and all-nighters studying for finals. Not everyone completes the marathon.

    • Thank you so much for this positive comment!! I’m glad to have gotten through it possibility of more in the future haha but it’s nice to know that I’ve got a degree now it’s true life does have ups and downs and it’s best to enjoy the highs but be mindful to prepare for the lows, thanks so much again for the comment!! 🙂

  9. Great post Oscar… and congratulations! I remember graduating with my undergrad degree. It was a gut-wrenching sense of accomplishment… mixed with an anxious need to discover all the ways I could apply my experiences. Never stop learning. It’s one of the few things we can always keep doing to improve ourselves.

    Good luck!

    • Thank you so much! Fantastic advice, I agree we must always be learning and improving upon ourselves. I’m looking for as many ways to apply my experiences now as possible, good luck to you in all you pursue as well!! 🙂

    • Whoa what an awesome piece! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said there, very positive message about hardwork and love of country, congratulations to you me and all the class of 2015! Woooo!! 😀

  10. Congratulations to you!!
    The blog felt familiar somehow – I am graduating soon as well and I had some similar thoughts on my undergrad one, too.
    I really liked the blog and the way it was written – seemed like the thoughts were liquid, flowing on the “page”.

    • Thank you!! I was hoping that I would capture something of what runs through all our minds during commencement I’m happy it felt familiar to you! And so happy you felt like my words flowed I try to make it readable and I try to keep a rhythm while I write, thank you once more for this awesome comment! Thanks for reading!

  11. Hello Oscar!
    Congratulation on your graduation! It does fill one with mixed emotions… it’s the start of a new season. Thanks for checking out my site!

    Take care,


    • Thank you! It’s true it does make you feel all kinds of mixed emotions, but it’s definitely the start of something new. Something to look forward to hopefully. No problem at all, you have a lot of very cool paintings posted up! Thanks for dropping by my blog as well, take care!! 🙂

  12. I like that you call it “commencement” because for me graduation = a new beginning. That is a very good point of view. I remember when I was so excited about getting my master degree and the graduation ceremony – it was a really great time…. you realize you accomplished something but in the same time you know you start a new chapter in your life. It is also the right time to gain real experience. BTW, Congratulations Oscar!

  13. Congrats! I agree with you on how symbolism plays a part in the graduation ceremony. Personally I’ve always found the value of a degree/diploma debatable any how, surely the knowledge you exercised and in turn received is its own reward. P.S Thanks for checking out my blog, you write very naturally in a way I find appealing. 🙂

    • I agree its not at all about the degree it’s about the knowledge and it always should be, and no problem at all thank you so much for checking out my blog too and complimenting my writing I try to keep an organic feel to my blog and to get positive feedback in that regard means a tremendous amount to me, thank you so much and all the best to you!! 🙂

  14. I graduated from university nearly 9 years ago now, and this reminded me of what it was like. I’ve never heard it called ‘Commencement,’ as far as I know it’s still graduation here in the UK. Anyway, congratulations even though this was a month ago now…what subject did you graduate in?

    • I hadn’t much heard it called that either until it was time for me to graduate and that’s what they were calling it haha and thank you! I graduated with a biochem degree lol sort of a far cry from writing but yeah thank you for the comment!

  15. Congratulations! Thanks for such an insightful post. Bittersweet describes perfectly each commencement which is always a new beginning as well.
    Thanks also for the like on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

  16. Why did I read this it brought back the last week palpitations of my graduation from management omg it was unexplainable moving on is hell from place people situations and comfort zones uffff this post was hell right so hell right… Cheers to those days memories.”

    • Cheers to those memories, congratulations on graduating!! It is difficult to get out of comfort zones and moving on to less familiar positions in life, but it’s not impossible to find your stability in new places though we all need to protect ourselves from the risk of complacency once we reach new comfort zones

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