My school does things a little weird. While some colleges may have graduation ceremonies twice a year, mine on the other hand is one of those where there is only one graduate ceremony and only one undergraduate ceremony. On top of that, my school is on the quarter system, so whether if you graduated in the fall or winter, the commencement ceremonies will always take place in the spring.
It’s with that in mind that I’d like to note that even though I got to walk in a cap and gown as one of about 4,000 students who walked this morning at my school, I haven’t officially graduated yet. I’m taking a five-week class during the summer and in the fall, I have my remaining classes to take as an undergrad. So the reality is, I actually will be completing my degree- and my minor- later in the year.
So why then did I walk at graduation this morning? It’s generally based on the matters of logistics. I’ve technically completed most of my requirements for my major and my minor, so it’s worth celebrating in that regard. Another is that I wanted to walk in the actual year that I will complete my degree. Even though I’ll be finishing in the 2014-2015 school year, I wanted to base it on Gregorian calendar standards. Seeing that I’m finishing this fall, I do- in a sense- count as a member of the Class of 2014.
And finally, walking at graduation was all in the matters of symbolism of what I’ve accomplished- and completed- in the last four years. I can definitely admit to not having the most “normal” of experiences as an undergraduate. I’ve seen and done things that I didn’t think I would get to experience until I got older. From serving as part of an amazing non-profit organization, to writing newspaper articles with quotes from the most unlikely of sources; from meeting incredible people whom I’ve looked up to, to making friends with incredible people whom I’m so blessed to have in my life now.
There’s also the case with the book, which only has a short while to wait now until its release. I always knew I’d release a book one day, but, just like the other out-of-the-box experiences throughout the past four years, I didn’t think it would happen this soon. Call it craziness or out-of-control ambition, but I think this, along with previous experiences, came out of my own desire, and to “build a cathedral” as my great aunt would say.
When I walked at graduation today, I walked for dreams and goals that have been met and have yet to meet. I walked for passion and ambition and the drive to do and accomplish great things. I walked for the education and knowledge that I have gained over the years that are to be put to good use when out in the real world. And, like all the other students I walked with today, I walked to get the hell out of that hot sun!
The only way out is up from here as I go forward; with actually completing my degree this fall and releasing my book this summer. With that in mind, I send my regards to my fellow classmates, and all the other students graduating from school this year, as I wish you all: Congratulations! We are the Class of 2014!
“…I will encourage you not to just make a living, but to live to make something.” -Wesley Chan (from his speech at UC San Diego’s Sixth College 2012 Commencement Ceremony)