Graduates must participate in ceremony

By Shelby Willard

As the Bronco Bookstore fills its shelves with graduation stoles and caps, seniors anxiously await their walk to “freedom.”

A few will go on to full-time jobs. Others will move back home to continue the search. And the rest will take the opportunity of being unemployed as a chance to travel. But before any of this can happen, students must face the decision of whether or not they should attend graduation.

The decision never crossed my mind until I came across a student that refused to come back to Cal Poly Pomona to walk.

I get it. You finish a quarter early and the idea of coming back to college just to graduate sounds worse than the line at Starbucks during U-Hour. The lame graduation party that follows where every adult asks you, “What next?” sounds like a day wasted and the time you have to spend picking out your gown and stole just doesn’t fit into your class and internship schedule.

Still, why wouldn’t you walk?

The student who refused to walk led me to an argument that compared college graduation to high school graduation ” a “meaningless” ceremony invented for family to spend unnecessary cash on grad mugs, balloons and alum jackets.

She explained that the ceremony is long and the speeches are overly practiced, concluding with that fact that she would much rather spend her day sleeping in or “moving on with [her] life.”

Yes, graduation may be boring. The sun will probably leave you with terrible sunburns and there will be at least one photo that you will be forced to hide from your Facebook timeline. The speeches will come from faculty that you failed to meet during your time at CPP, the student who gets an award will be an overachiever that you can’t relate to because he or she already has a full-time job set up with the company of your dreams, and the person sitting beside you will probably have bad BO.

But, graduation is not for you. A shocking revelation, I know.

How could a day that is celebrating your achievements not be about you? You see, graduation is for everyone that supported you during your time at CPP.

It’s for your mom, who hasn’t stopped taking those embarrassing first day of school pictures or calling you to warn you that your bank account was low on funds (even though she didn’t need to rub it in any more).

It’s for your grandma, who will write you a check at your grad party and still tell you that your major is a dying field.

It’s for your younger sibling, who will undoubtedly complain about the entire event but will ultimately be learning from you that a college degree is attainable.

Whoever it is for, graduation isn’t for you. I’m sure you have already celebrated the fact that you’re done with college and mentally prepped yourself to pay off your student loans.

However, missing graduation is selfish because it isn’t for you. Graduation is for anyone that supported or helped you get through those rigorous years. It may not even be just family; it could be your one best friend sitting in the crowd.

Either way, even though this day is about you, its purpose is not to benefit you. And so for once, I would like every graduate to think twice about his or her decision to attend graduation.

Attending graduation might be boring, but I can promise you one thing: It’s a lot more exciting than getting your diploma in the mail three months later.


Monica Lopez / The Poly Post


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