>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
June 19, 2005

Who may I ask invented the cap and gown ensemble? There truly is nothing more attractive than an entire student body getting ready to enter the real world wearing a bunch of black judge robes and matching square hats. Those who had their graduation outside in the sweltering heat, my deepest sympathies. Those robes weren't exactly designed for solid ventilation of air flow. And to those lucky bastards who had theirs indoors, well I'm glad someone had fun discreetly scratching their crotch throughout the entire ceremony.

Graduation practice is really a joke. Most schools make you come early in the morning, where only the truly motivated make it, while others pick the option of sleeping off their hangovers in a toasty warm bed. But then you sit there and listen to how and where you're supposed to find your coordinates to line up, only to miss a vital piece of information and realize the day of, you have no idea where you're going to stand in the procession line and worse case scenario, maybe even show up at the School of Agriculture's ceremony instead of the School of Hospitality…forcing you to realize that you're just going to have to grab one of the many diplomas on the stage and make a run for the car, where your mom is sitting with the engine idling…just in case. At least someone knows how to plan ahead.

“My mom asked me what I was thinking about getting my dad for Father's Day. I told her, ‘You're both getting me back into your lives.' It will truly be magical.”

I'd like to believe that we're all smart enough to be able to sit in alphabetical order and retrieve our diplomas when our names are called, but some of us really haven't reached that point of readiness and intelligence, even at the end of four or five years. No matter how big or small the class is, someone always manages to sit in the wrong place and get their name called at the wrong time, causing the one severely embarrassed senior to climb over ten of his fellow graduates and stumble all the way up to the podium….then causing your professors to sigh with disappointment that they really didn't teach you anything, and your parents to hold their heads in shame after witnessing hard proof that you've spent the last four years learning nothing. Don't be surprised when your dad spends the better part of the post-ceremony party looking for a refund line.

And who are these guest speakers at the colleges? I heard Bono came to Harvard one year and Bon Jovi did a commencement speech at Monmouth. All our guest speakers got honorary degrees, which were met with acceptance speeches normally reserved for those awarded on Oscar night—only there was no one to cue the music when they were started taking up too much commercial time. The only guy there was the President of Kohler company who basically said, “Look, you can drink all through college and be a millionaire like me.” Which was nice but I'd still like to remember my graduation by being serenaded with Living On A Prayer. Which is much more realistic, don't you think?

Why does every father always look at the diploma and say, “So, this is what a 100,000 dollar piece of paper looks like?” Here's an idea: hand him your student loan consolidation bill and say, “Actually dad, this is what it looks like…sign here, here, and initial here.”

At my graduation my mom asked me what I was thinking about getting my dad for Father's Day. I told her, “You're both getting me back into your lives.” It will truly be magical, me coming back home to live with them again. And since I owe so much in loans I really wouldn't feel comfortable using my graduation money to get dad a memory card for his digital camera. Then she mentioned something about me using it to start paying rent, utilities, and health insurance instead, so I guess that dad's getting that memory card after all.

Looking back it's funny that I'm a theater major who had to pass a math class to graduate. What is the logic here? Every theater major ends up a starving artist, so what's the point of taking an extensive math course when the only numbers you'll ever have to add up are bits of change you've accumulated street performing?

The pre-graduation ceremonies are always fun. These are times when the school gives you lots of parties, you get lots of free food, parents buy you free booze, and you and your siblings actually get along really well…because now you're officially an adult. But there's still one situation that many of us find awkward, and that's meeting the parents of friends—and having your own parents meet your friends. You meet them, say hi, ask how the drive up was, and that's all you really have to work with. You can't say, “Hey Mr. and Mrs. Levine, your kid is awesome!! Really, yesterday he outran the cops naked, and ended up passing out in a doghouse!” It just doesn't seem right to knock those parents down from their high horse right before the graduation ceremony. I'm sure they'll figure it out when the kid moves back in with them.

Your first day and last day at college are identical. There are thousands of friends and families standing around wishing you well, heaping congratulations, and offering good luck. Dad's are sweating through their good shirts lifting and carrying all your stuff up and down the stairs, mom's are crying through their JCPenney blouses wondering how the years went by so fast, and sisters and brothers are complaining that they're bored and just want to lay on your bed. Parking is impossible, and most importantly, you're feeling a little scared. You don't know what the future holds, what you're going to do with your life, or where you'll be in the next four years, but at least you're armed with a diploma and a major that 90% of graduates never use to work in that particular field. I know biology majors who are car salesmen, and a chemistry major who works fulltime at the GAP. I am, on the other hand, self-employed. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go count the daily earnings out of my top hat and tap shoes.