Graduation Ceremonies: Conglomerate of Achievements

“I made it.” “We made it”

Jubilant graduand or graduands’ exhilarated cries echo in my ears weeks after the graduation ceremony. No matter what cohort of students, whether high or low achievers, the graduation day gains a unique significance that is shared equally by all.  A day that connotes the end of their trials and tribulations as HSC students at school with trials and internal assessments out of their way. A day on which their annals of achievements would be recited to the community amidst loud cheering and the soft clicks of cameras that would capture their success stories forever. The ambience is filled with excitement and in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the eventful day, a silent, voiceless me, watch the trickle of audience grow into a significant number in the school hall.

Beaming graduands immaculately dressed in their graduation gowns and hats seated at the front  of the hall as per the norm, occasionally turn around to wave acknowledging the presence of their family members  and friends.  The podium acquires a new look with embellishments and even the lectern in the foreground has a personality of its own as many a speaker would rely on it in distinctive ways. A chattering procession enters the hall with flower bouquets, garlands comprising of money and lollies and elated children running helter-skelter along the length of the hall. The aura of anticipation has not diminished once in all the graduation ceremonies that I have attended in a decade.    

Outstanding orations by the Principal, the Deputy Principal, the Year Advisor, Senior prefect, the newly elected body of prefects and extravaganzas colour the day besides the rewards and awards given to the students who have completed the course with flying colours. The highlight of the day is usually the video presentation where a  juxtaposition of the graduands’ year 7 photos with their current ones fetches “Oohs and Aahs” from the audience and  a glimpse of the memorable times they have had at the educational institution elicits knowing smiles from all. The conclusion of the ceremony is followed by photo shoots with friends and family when gifts are showered on the graduands and an inviting mouth watering lunch.

On this occasion I would like to share an address that I hold dearly to my heart. While wishing them all the best in their future enterprises I would like to highlight a few lines from Steve Job’s address to Stanford University that would guide them in their after school lives.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

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