By Kyle Graham
Grad SZN… that time of year where you see fire photoshoots, overdone mortarboards, and unnecessarily long Instagram captions. Behind all the pomp and circumstance graduates are experiencing a myriad of thoughts and emotions. I can’t speak for everyone, but my brain was a mess in May of 2014.
The Days Before:
I remember it like it was yesterday… *cues daydream sequence* It was a sunny day in Elon, North Carolina. The birds were chirping, girls were wearing rompers (not guys yet), and the day drinking was plentiful. Actually I really don’t remember much about the days leading up to graduation… but they were probably like that.
In reality I was days away from graduating without a job. For some of my classmates that was a nightmare, but I really wasn’t worried about it. There was a certain level of uncertainty about what I was going to do after graduation, and I was just ready to embrace it. I had a plan of attack… kinda. I was going to go home for a few weeks, momentarily get my life together, and then get on a one way flight to Los Angeles.
I knew I’d have the rest of my life to go to work and do adult things (still trying to figure out what that really means). In those days leading up to graduation I truly just wanted to spend time with my friends that meant the most to me. These people had become more than just my friends, but my close family. In a few days I would no longer live a 5 minute walk away from my friend who’s unlocked apartment I could just waltz into and plop myself on the couch. The thought of losing that camaraderie is what messed with me the most.
Woke up, walked to campus w/ my best friend. Getting ready for the actual ceremony was surreal. Once commencement began I was just playing the waiting game in my head. I could have cared less about all of the boring speakers that went up on the stage. I just wanted to hear my name called and get my diploma. Once I got that piece of paper I went back to my seat for all of 3.489 seconds. Realizing that there was no point in sitting around I went to find my family and got some of the biggest and greatest hugs of my young life. For the remainder of graduation I proceeded to make obnoxious calls when my line brothers and neo graduated. It wasn’t until we all circled up to sing the hymn that it really hit me. Standing in the middle of that circle I realized that my college career was over.
After the ceremony I went back to my house and took a nap that Rip Van Winkle and Sleeping Beauty would be jealous of. Apparently a week of abusing my liver and not sleeping had officially caught up to me. After recharging I went to a nice dinner with my family and celebrated our success and accomplishments. I specifically said “our” because that degree was just as much theirs as it was mine. They earned that B.A. in Strategic Communications by raising me, by funding my education, for being my support system. Without my parents, sister, aunts and uncles I never would've made it (I hope you read that in Marvin Sapp’s voice).
Although I knew college was over I wasn't ready to let my friends go. I spent the next few days hanging around my house with my close friends who hadn't left for various reasons. In those few days we really didn't do anything other than watch movies and eat food. In my mind we could've sat in absolute silence and I would have been content because I'd have them around. Looking back on it I guess I knew that this would be my last chance to do this for a while since I was off to LA. Eventually all good things have to come to an end, and I had to say goodbye to my friends… or at least see you later.
Throughout this post I have mentioned two major pillars of my college experience; family and friends. These two groups always pushed me to be the best me, and give my all when I thought I already had. To the new graduates I implore you to not forget those people who made your college experience what i was.
Photo Credit: Danny Sellers