Graduation Cap

A Graduation Story

Journal Entry Written May 28, 2014

Well, I did it.  Today, I walked across the stage in a gown and cap, shook hands with the Chancellor and Dean, and became an official alumni of UBC.  Looking back, I can’t believe I actually did it. 

Mommy always said I’d look back at Sauder and realize how hard it was.  The thing is, I don’t actually think it was that hard (okay, some parts were obviously hard) but it’s more like I feel that I didn’t put enough passion into it.  I didn’t try hard enough.  And I definitely didn’t get involved as I should have. 

As one of the speakers during the speeches said, UBC is not just what you learn in your classes, but it’s what you learn from clubs, and your friends, and yes, even going to The Pitt. 

I took the bus from work and arrived at UBC at 1:30pm. I was supposed to be there at 2:30pm so I walked around for a bit, wandered into Sauder, and tried to get that special feeling that I was part of something special but I never got it. And that made me sad because it made me feel empty.  Then I sat on the benches, watching other grads walk by in their heels carrying balloons and teddy bears.  And I tried to imagine how different my experience would have been if I had known more people.

Sean walked by and said hi.  What would my experience have been like if he actually did become my best friend?  

When I actually got to the place where you try on your gown and cap, I stood alone, remembering how it felt when I graduated from highschool and didn’t know who to talk to.  I had that sense of emptiness again.  Empty because I’ve always wanted something more and never got it. 

I saw faces that I recognized but souls that I didn’t know.  I saw people whom I knew had ambitions, yet I knew nothing of their dreams.  These are the people I’ll forget in ten years, and who will forget me by tomorrow. 

For some reason, I became the pinner of gowns. I helped a guy with crutches and a guy whose sash was completely crooked and it felt good because I felt useful.  I wish I could feel like that more often. 

As you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately because I’m at such a crucial stage.  I’m at the crossroads, where I could go a million different ways and each path will lead to a different life.  And it’s scary. I don’t want to have to choose. I just want to stay where I am, and freeze everything, and give myself more time. 

Life is going too fast for me. I’m almost 22 and Papa just turned 63 today. Then I think about Opi and how frail he is. I remember when I first went to see him in the hospital, seeing him so small and weak on the bed, and having to hold back tears as I thought to myself, This isn’t my Opi.  This man on the bed, with tubes coming out of him, is not the strong man I know who let me ride on his back and took me to the park and bought me ice cream from the ice cream truck. I remember I almost couldn’t look at him because if I did, I started tearing up. It was as though a stranger had replaced my Opi. 

He’s out of the hospital now but in a care home and still small and weak. I can feel his bones underneath his clothes when I hug him. I know growing old is inevitable but it still catches you by surprise when it happens. 

It still catches you off guard when the man who used to carry you is now being pushed by you in a wheelchair.  

I always knew Omi and Opi wouldn’t live forever and that’s why I made a point of visiting them weekly for the past two years, but in a way, that’s only given me more things to miss about them. 

While I know that Opi’s life is ending, mine is just beginning and it scares me not knowing what’ll happen in it.  In her speech, the Chancellor said that we have to try everything because our taste buds are still developing.  She also said that the future will bring change.  And that when we’re scared, we should remember our first day at UBC, our first exam, our first love, our first loss, our first time riding a bike, and realize that we are good at change. 

Well, I for one know that I am not good at change so the next few years are going to be tough for me.  Also, I walked across the stage today wearing my shoes on the wrong feet. So ya, that definitely sounds like someone who’s ready to conquer the world. YIKES!

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