What it’s like graduating in 2020
Just a couple of months ago, I pictured graduation at Nickerson Field, outside on a sunny day. I would go to my English Department graduation the day before, sit in alphabetical order, receive my BA, and go out to dinner with my family and friends. The graduation at Nickerson would be massive, and I would be able to sit next to my friends. I would decorate my cap with some silly quote or design, and maybe throw it up in the air. I would glance in the audience to see my family, and maybe see my parents and grandpa shed a tear. I would pop a bottle of champagne on the BU seal and step on it, pretending that I totally didn’t drunkenly step on it my sophomore year. I would get to say some last meaningful words to friendships I’m afraid wouldn’t last simply because of the distance. There would be kisses on cheeks, last words of kindness, and breath of release knowing that it’s all over. Now, my lips are sealed. No kisses on cheeks, no words in person, and an anti-climatic day where I don’t feel that breath of release.
Of course, I’m angry. I’m sad and I’m frustrated too. By the time there’s a commencement celebration in the fall or winter, people will have jobs to show up for and be doing their own thing. They will have moved on with their lives. It won’t be the same.
I’m grateful that I get to be home. In all honesty, I never really liked Boston, but now that I’m away, I wish I could’ve gotten that sense of closure. The city will always be there, and there will be people I’ll miss that I can visit, but I will never be that physically close to any of those people in that city ever again. I won’t be able to wave to people I know down the street on my way to class. I won’t be able to go to sorority and fraternity date parties and formals. I won’t really miss the frat parties, but I’ll miss how dumb I was, and that I could be that dumb. And I don’t get a way of traditionally celebrating all of that and getting that feeling of closure, and sealing it with a righteous kiss (yes, Romeo and Juliet reference, because in a way, Boston and I were star-crossed-lovers, but in the end, we were never going to end up together at graduation).
I did get to be surrounded by family and close friends, which even though might have been something that happened anyways, it was great. I didn’t bother to watch the commencement ceremony—there’s no way we would all listen to it without talking over it. I did get to take shots with my parents and my brother with a bright yellow shot ski (that everyone signed) to start off the celebration, and if that’s not a good start to my adult life, I don’t know what is.