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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Graduation

Can you believe that you’re almost done, Class of 2008? After four (or five) years, you’ll finally be a college graduate! I would say congratulations, but you’ve got a few finals left, and I don’t want to jinx it. I know you’re worried about failing that French 3 class you put off taking until your very last quarter. You’ll be fine. Unless you fail, which you’re pretty sure you’re going to do. Seriously, don’t worry. That’s why they invented summer sessions.

Unlike a lot of you, I don’t have to worry about falling short right before the grueling, arduous end. I graduated back in March. Planning ahead and taking too many units per quarter can be a good thing in the long run. While the rest of you are cramming and trying to remember the difference between past participle and present progressive, I don’t have to do anything except to worry about how unemployable I am.

But now is not the time to think of impending careers (especially those of you who are going straight to grad school and putting off work for as long as possible). Let’s focus a bit on the actual graduation ceremony.

I’m not entirely sure how the college graduation ceremony works. I never attended any of my older friends’ graduations in years past. I knew they would be super boring. I have, however, participated in three non-collegiate graduations in my life.

Kindergarten: I don’t really remember much of this. 1992 was a long time ago, after all. I do remember that this ceremony ended my time at the private Christian school. “Too much Jesus, not enough math,” my parents said. I’ve been in public school ever since.

Eighth grade: My class wanted to walk to one of the most moving anthems of 2000, the Dr. Dre and Eminem classic, “Forgot about Dre.” The parent organizing committee ignored our wishes and chose the song with the least amount of street cred, “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C.

High school: The ceremony was outside and windy, and I had to face the sun so I almost went blind. Although I really didn’t want to walk, my parents said I had to. As some sort of consolation prize, they said that when I graduated from college, I wouldn’t have to walk if I didn’t want to, because college was different. When I brought this up a few months ago, my parents claimed, “We never said that!”

I’m hoping that graduating from college is a better experience than my past graduations. I know one thing that would make the letters and science graduation truly awesome: San Francisco’s ultra-dreamy mayor, Gavin Newsom, as the commencement speaker. Apparently the law school grads are getting him. At least some people are guaranteed a good graduation. I still don’t know who the L&S speaker is going to be.

I guess it doesn’t matter. I don’t even think graduation is about commemorating our academic accomplishments anymore. Maybe it was back in the good old days, but now it’s more about UC Davis banking off of you one last time.

Unless you join the alumni association, or you decide to get your master’s and/or Ph.D., or you pop out a few kids, wait 18 years and send them to the old alma mater, UC Davis is not making any more money. I’m pretty sure they only have graduation ceremonies to sell more UC Davis merchandise.

Now that I think of it, establishing a college is a pretty good way to make a living. I’d just need to put the name of my college on a bunch of merchandise. Think of the sweatshirt sales! The license plate frames, key chains, all of that crap!

The college that I am establishing right this very second is now accepting applications. Tell your younger brothers and sisters to apply. I don’t have a location yet, but if people are willing to go to UC Merced, I’m sure that people are willing to go to lectures in my backyard.

Maybe I have gotten something out of my college education.

 

Send your good-byes (or au revoirs, as they say in French 3) to RACHEL SKYTT at rachelskytt@gmail.com.

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