First off, congratulations are in order for the class of 2015. You did it, graduates. You deserve it after four to 10 (or more) years of extraneous brain exercises. We undergraduates are so proud of every single one of you bastards and wish you all the luck you won’t need to conquer your “real-life” future.
With that aside, here’s a glimpse at what the non-graduates go through during the greatest week of your academic career.
Banners are hung to impress visiting parents and relatives, 6,848 chairs are dragged out from the Narnia wardrobe, the sounds of bagpipes are piercing and inescapable (and somehow more unbearable than usual), and that spine-tingling stage that you, and secretly everyone, are afraid of tripping on is constructed. The moment that setup begins, we undergrads get goosebumps — though partly from the obnoxious dragging of massive metal carts across Convocation Mall.
My favorite on-campus study area, Higher Grounds Coffee Shop, is a major no-go zone during the week of Convocation. It’s an especially lethal environment for introverts like me to be in, with all the people congregating to get coffee, or soup, or to head upstairs to the pub. By people, I mean all of the people — and by all of the people, I mean all the graduates and their families. My advice is to just stay out of Spirit Bear that week and let the graduates enjoy it one last time. Imagine crime scene tape reading “Caution! Non-graduates really don’t want to be here right now!” sectioning off the premises.
The insecurity and internal conflict during convo week is a struggle for non-graduates, especially the ones who’ve already served four years but still have time left on their sentence. We’re motivated to study 100 per cent more than our norm, and that’s for one of two reasons: we fear we’ll never graduate, or that we’ll graduate unprepared. There’s something about seeing successful graduates in their proud gown-and-cap attire that drives us up the wall in conflict; one minute we’re thinking “I’m so excited to get there and start my professional life,” and the next we’re panicking, “No, wait, I’m not ready for that real-life shit. Sign me up for graduate school; I’m never leaving this beautiful prison!”
Can we return to the sheer number of humans on campus during convo week? And the bagpipes? God, the bagpipes. I swear I heard them in my sleep the other night, like a backwards lullaby; hear them once and they stick to the inside of your ear and play for eternity. No offense, bagpipe players. It’s nothing personal. You’re all really damn talented and I respect your super cool outfits and your super cool lungs, which probably mean you could run a marathon really easily or something. But if there’s a hell and I go there when I die, there’ll probably always be at least seven bagpipes playing in the background.
With all seriousness, a big cheer to you, graduates. We sincerely hope that your day was perfect and everything you wished it to be. Thank you for the sudden burst of motivation to study for midterms and a re-evaluation of my time management skills. Proud of you, happy for you, kind of want to be you, kind of don’t want to be you. Good luck and farewell!