What You Were Really Thinking During Graduation

by Katie Francis

We all wish we could spend our graduation ceremonies thinking of nothing but our impending and (hopefully) successful entry into the real world. But as our time as undergrads come to an end, the stress of making it to this very moment — from the late nights staying up to complete that last paper, to the logistics of picking up our caps and gowns and flying in loved ones — makes graduation a time when you're bound to feel all the feelings. Yes, during your graduation, you can expect to feel everything from immense relief and accomplishment — to stress, anxiety, and a little nausea.

As our fellow students, alums, and faculty assemble into a hall filled with our families, we're suddenly made immensely aware of the fact that eight semesters of hard work is about to culminate in two hours of sitting in uncomfortable seats, dressed like Roman assemblymen. And as we prepare to walk across what now suddenly seems like the world's-longest stage in a robe we’re sure will get caught under our new shoes, the whole thing can start to feel like a terrifying metaphor for adulthood.

We want to be celebrating, thinking back on our time in college, absorbing the wisdom of our speakers, and looking forward to the next phase of our lives, but let’s be real — having just been there myself, I can tell you that's not what's going through our minds. Here's what we graduates are really thinking during those commencement ceremonies.

Who picked Satan’s theater?

These robes are not breathable, the cap traps every last bit of heat into my body, and I'm inches away from hundreds of other fools who fell for the dress code suggestion.

OH MY GOD…which side is my tassel supposed to be on?

Do I move it from my left to my right of from the audiences left to their right or… damn.

I wish I'd learned all of my friends' middle names

How else am I going to know when to cheer?

Is my family even here?!

Trying to finding your family in a sea of beaming parents is even harder than that physics final you didn’t study for last week.

Are graduation metaphors required to be excessively dramatic and confusing?

Graduation is an orchestra, a baseball game, a slow and painful death in polyester…

If the guy in front of me thought our gowns would act as some sort of fart shield, he's sorely mistaken…

They don’t, and there is not nearly enough ventilation in this venue for that.

I wish I could take a shot every time a graduation speaker made an ironic comment about graduation speeches...

Except that I don’t because then I would be horribly drunk.

No, but really, where is the alcohol?

Graduation drinking games, oh the possibilities!


Or as I like to say, don’t "Lizzie McGuire it.”

Shake with the right grab with the left. shake with the right grab with the left.

Because that’s awkward for everyone…

The dean touched everyone hands and THEN mine?

Who knows where these hands have been?!

I have my diploma, so can I go home now?

Really, what else is there?

But first, let me take a selfie!

Congrats class of 2014!

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