Graduation was this past Saturday. I love graduation!
I am not required to go, but I go every year to spring graduation. I love seeing our grad students get hooded and watching the undergrads walk across the stage and get their diplomas. I have to take tissues every year because I invariably cry. There are two things that get me every time.
- The faculty and academic staff line the walls on both sides outside of the auditorium as the students start the processional. We applaud the graduates as they file in. It is a sweet, special moment and allows for some quick shout-outs, high fives, and hugs to students we have personally taught.
- Walking into the auditorium behind the students, dressed in all my regalia as the band plays Pomp and Circumstance. It is a moment celebrating the students, but also one of personal reflection thinking back on my educational memories and the whole journey.
I love the whole ceremony of graduation. It's sort of like having a wedding once in year in terms of ceremony, tradition, and ritual. I get to wear my fancy robe, tam, and hood with my LSU colors while all of my colleagues are wearing similar types of garb in a rainbow of colors representing their degrees, their disciplines, and their universities. The students file in, followed by faculty, and then administration as we march to the strains of the famliar graduation tune. We remain standing while the color guard marches in with the flags and posts the colors, then join in unity to sing the National Anthem. The speeches are typically thoughtful, inspiring, and just the appropriate length. We sit close to our grads and get to catch their eye throughout the ceremony and smile at them as they walk back to their seats after getting hooded and getting their diplomas. Afterwards, we get the joy of meetiing their parents, bragging on them, and taking photos. It's just a great day.
The students walking down the corridor as faculty applauds