Three days from now I’ll be marching onstage for my college graduation. The thing is, I don’t want to attend. Today we had our first rehearsal; I purposely went there so I’d feel the thrill and excitement of the event, just like my batchmates who can’t talk enough about it in Facebook. But not me. I felt lonelier and convinced that I don’t really enjoy such events.
When I went home, my mother who was excited about it went mad when I told her how I didn’t want to attend the ceremony, bombarding me with questions like had I lost my mind, can I really graduate if I fail to attend, and so on.
All I can think of is, it’s all a waste of money, from buying clothes and shoes and other stuff. I’m afraid that if I force myself to attend, I might contaminate everyone with my sour disposition. Am I being unreasonable?—Reluctant Graduate
Though your letter arrived much too late to be answered before your graduation, your sentiments are relevant and need to be addressed.
For a young person to feel responsible for senseless spending at this age is quite remarkable. Unlike those Facebook adherents, you knew in your mind how much waste is thrown away for a few hours of gaiety.
You’ve finished college, period. There’ll be a diploma at your dean’s office waiting for you whether you march or not. All the revelry and ceremony will just be the icing on the cake.
Sure, it’s nice to say goodbye to college with a bang and merriment—if your parents have some leftover hard-earned cash to blow away. But what if they don’t, then what? Borrow? Put more strain on the possibly already overcharged credit cards? Haven’t they slaved enough to put you through all these years?
College then and now is an entirely different kettle of fish. It was an honor decades ago to march for your graduation, then hang the picture on the wall for a show and tell to every relative in the barrio. That was almost always the stepping stone for jobs that would carry the family out of poverty.
But now, what is there to show after graduation from a four-year-liberal arts or a six-year-medical course? Unless you’re top of your class or extremely motivated, standing behind a pharmacy counter selling drugs or else waiting on customers looking at clothes in a department store are the most common recourse. It’s that or the go-to handout, from the already burdened parents, again!
You’re right for objecting to all that unnecessary fuss. There will be more important, pressing, and noteworthy events to drain your money in—soon enough.