Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Graduation: I graduated today. That is, I dressed up…
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
Graduation: I graduated today. That is, I dressed up in the cap and gown that Shweta lent me, with a gold tassel from my high school mortarboard (which differentiated me from my blue-and-gold-tasseled classmates), and friends and family watched me take part in a commencement ceremony in the Greek Theater on UC Berkeley's campus.
I have a logic final tomorrow, and I've barely studied, and I'll do so tomorrow morning, when the headache of today's heat has left me. (Is the near-sunstroke, caused by heat and May/June sun and a big black gown, an intrinsic part of the graduation/initiation ritual?) Right now I need to jot down some memories:
I forgave Simon Stow, who just got his PhD, for a long-ago grudge.
I found myself in the processional next to Robyn, an acquaintance from my first year. She's going to get married soon, and she's in a credentialing program to become a high school teacher. We gabbed and joked away the hours, playing Political Science Hangman on the back of my program as the commencement speaker droned on and on and on.
A nearby graduate generously spritzed us with a water bottle/fan combo. The flecks evaporated instantly.
Seth and Charlie came. Seth took pictures of me and the crowd. I was so heartwarmed to see him there!
My parents came. They can't walk very fast, and they were glad that my mother had thought to bring an umbrella to shield them from the sun. Being with them today reminded me that this whole ritual is nothing more than a series of procedures and that when each procedure is trying, the whole ritual can become an ordeal. But once Dad found out about Seth's interest in Judeo-Christian scripture, Dad and Seth got along famously, Dad revealing his pet theory that the Gospel of John was written by Mary Magdalene (Me: "That's such a Salon story!").
The announcer mispronounced my name, even with a phonetic pronunciation on the index card and me saying it first. Ah, tradition.
Nothing was quite as transcendent as the processional. The audio system played a censored version of "Pomp and Circumstance" that looped the famous part and skipped the intermediate parts. The walk would have been a trudge if it hadn't been so exciting. A stadium full of cheering fans waved at us, clapped, yelled, and it was special to all of them, and I found tears in my eyes, standing there, absorbing my share.