It’s graduation season. You made the list. Congratulations! If you breezed through university, this isn’t for you. This one is for you who knows that being on the list didn’t come easy. You spent nights awake, some in bars to keep your friends company (you never liked the places at all) but the nights I’m referring to here are the ones you spent making sense of your hastily written notes. You photocopied notes and hand-outs to the point that you knew the serial number of the photocopier from standing next to it for so long. You learnt to copy, paste, change font, change spacing and edit a few lines so fast, it became second nature. You endured brokenness with strength and resolve, not letting your dress sense or your disposition be put down by the state of your pocket.
You put up with absent lecturers, exasperated at how you’d have to make a long trek back to your place of aboard. You walked campus, from one end to another, so much that you had names for some rocks along the way. You benched and were benched, putting up with lame conversation about the weather (for you who was benched) and struggling to keep conversation flowing (for you who benched – deftly switching conversation from the lecturers’ dress sense, to the colour of her carpet, to how fast her percolator made your tea and inevitably, to the weather).
You whose marks got lost and you made innumerable trips to get them fixed. You who, for some reason, the University always claimed you owed them money as exams approached. You who had to toil to get fees for University, employee by day, student by night, struggling to keep sleep at bay. You who always had to fight to get an examination slip. You who had to talk to lecturers so many times, explaining, cajoling.
Graduation is not an end in itself by any measure; it is a huge milestone nonetheless. Those saying that you shouldn’t celebrate, that you should be focussed on getting gainful employment (or on starting your own business) surely don’t know how much you invested to get this far. They are that tour guide that points out the next mountain as soon as you reach the peak of the one you’ve been struggling to climb. Take stock. Celebrate. Enjoy this. And give thanks.
This season is particularly special for me as well; my brother made the list. There’s every reason to celebrate. Congratulations Dan. I’m very proud of you.