I was on Snapchat yesterday, and if you’re familiar with it then you know they have a flashback feature where they show you snaps from the past that you have saved. It’s basically like the memories on Facebook. I decided to look at my flashbacks, and I had stories from when I graduated from college two years ago. TWO YEARS. I know that’s not a super long time ago, but still. It seems like time is just going by so fast! I was going to do a completely different post today, but seeing that photo in my memories and thinking about how this is not exactly a time graduates thought it would be, I figured this would be a perfect post to make! So, keep reading to find out why my college graduation was my happiest and saddest moment.
I went across the finish line…
It’s no question why graduation was a happy moment for me. Why is it a happy moment for anyone? You’ve worked so hard in your courses. Your body is probably made up of energy drinks and coffee at this point. You’ve worked your ass off on your projects, exams, etc. You’ve done everything you’ve needed to do and now it’s all paying off. The end is here and you’re a name call away from winning the race called college. That’s how I felt. I felt like I was finally here! I’ve been through hell and back with college. College is what really sparked my anxiety and I was ready to just breathe finally! I was ready to walk forward and never look back. It was my time. I had finished the race. I won.
…But the race wasn’t over.
Technically I finished the race, but the race wasn’t over for me. For some, the race wasn’t over in terms of having plans of going to graduate school and beyond, but for me, it was a different story. I was walking into this huge area with a bunch of people cheering and clapping for the graduates of 2018, yet I couldn’t fully embrace the moment. On the outside, I was so happy, but on the inside in the back of my mind, I couldn’t get over how I wasn’t officially done. I went through everything I needed to do and took all the courses and the exit exam, yet I wasn’t done. It was all because I still had a battle with classes that I’ve been at war with for two semesters, and although I was able to walk, I had to come back and battle for one more semester.
I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I felt like a failure and like I didn’t even deserve to walk. I know it’s not the end of the world and that I wasn’t the only one, but this is just how it felt for me. I just wanted to be done. No one knew I had to retake classes because I chose to keep it to myself. I just remember just wanting to cry, but it wasn’t even tears of joy. It was tears of distraught. Later through the commencement, I was able to keep the thoughts to the back for a bit, but of course that’s not where they wanted to stay. Graduating from college was just not the joyous experience that I waited for all this time and still to this day, I wish I could have a redo.
A note to graduates
My graduation wasn’t the joyous occasion I wanted it to be, and I know right now it’s not what you expected either. Instead of walking across a stage, maybe you’re watching your name going across a screen on your TV at home. Things happen, life comes in the way, but that doesn’t mean it was all for nothing. Be joyous! This is your time regardless no matter what. Whether you’re in the situation I was in, or your commencement was ruined by Covid, it doesn’t mean your work was in vain. You did it class of 2020 and you should be proud!
What’s your story? Did your graduation not end up being the experience you waited for? I’d love to hear about it!