An era of sorts came to a close for me this past week with ceremonies dedicated to graduating students of Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and to all 2012 graduates at the All-University Commencement at Yankee Stadium. In some respects, the experience was surreal, but for the most part, it felt as though that I was simply going through the motions.
After all the hoopla of heels and long robes, mal-fitting hats and swinging tassels, and flurry of speeches, the endings to not only commencement, but also to the undergraduate experience in its entirety, seem rather anti-climatic. The first days that we set foot on campus, the anxiety slowly creeps up on each one of us as freshman year becomes sophomore year, then junior year, and finally, senior year. The excitement and anxiety for graduation builds, finding itself feeding off of on campus recruitment, senior week, finals – in essence, everything that poses some significance as “the end.” But as evident as that anxiousness is, it suddenly dissipates come graduation, and we are left with at a standstill, wondering what comes next.
I now have a piece of paper in tow, certifying that I am of at least mild intelligence. It has little bearing on dictating what I am capable of or what I will do. Rather, it ups the ante. This thin slip of paper written all over in slick calligraphy symbolizes the belief that others – family, friends, staff, and teachers – have had in me. And the same goes for everyone who graduated this past week. Our diploma shouldn’t signify the debts or strife incurred, but rather, the result of others believing in our potential.
Congratulations class of 2012!