Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 31, 2020

I Graduated Alone. In My Pajamas. On My Mom’s Couch.

New York Times op-ed:  I Graduated Alone. In My Pajamas. On My Mom’s Couch., by Mary Retta (B.A. 2020, Vassar College):

VassarAs commencement day approached, I found myself thinking of a Zoom graduation as a creepy, post-apocalyptic exercise on bad days and as a corny, semi-pointless ritual on good ones. I was never really looking forward to it but recognized that it was better than nothing. It happened this past weekend. And from a technical standpoint it was well executed, but it was also sadder than I thought it would be, sitting without my friends, attending the ceremony not in a cap and gown but in my pajamas, sitting on my mom’s couch. ...

I couldn’t bring myself to be excited about graduation, which usually marks the start of a promising future. Instead, we’re beginning adult life in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression by some measures. As an aspiring journalist, for me it has been particularly frightening — graduating as about 36,000 journalists have been fired or furloughed, or had their pay reduced because of the coronavirus crisis, many of them seasoned veterans. It seems every time I log onto Twitter another writer I admire has been laid off. ...

Ultimately, what’s most painful to me is not that I won’t get to walk across the stage — it’s that I won’t achieve the finality that the ritual represents. ...

Even normal graduations don’t provide closure, but the performance of it. The real blessing of the ceremonies is their knowledge and appreciation of last times. When I think back on this moment in life, I’ll never wonder “What if I had my commencement ceremony?” I’ll just wish that I got to hug my friends goodbye, knowing that it would be our last embrace for a while.

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Poor baby. If she gets a job as a journalist, I hope she realizes nobody else gives a damn how she feels. She might consider reporting some news.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | May 31, 2020 4:32:47 PM