As someone who has spent the past two months suffering from a severe bout of senioritis, I can say with full conviction that I would probably consent to graduating in a private mansion with only my fellow graduates in the audience, at this point. At the same time, college graduation is a big thing and seeing that as I don't have graduate school written in any version of my future plans, it might even be one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. And there are certain things that December graduates get to enjoy that are unique to our 'circumstances'; here's 11 of them.
1. Some people are completely surprised with the concept of winter graduation.Giphy
I'm not sure what this says about their general intelligence, but I've come across people who are actually shocked when I tell them about my hopefully forthcoming graduation. Last Sunday, a high school girl in my Sunday class scrunched up her face and blatantly said, "I thought people only graduate in May." Well, hon, you learn something new every day.
2. You have to deal with the weather being even more unpredictable.Giphy
Here in Houston, I like to think that the weather has a mind of its own. It could give any teen a go for the amount of strong-willed stubbornness it displays. I'm all about supporting strong wills, but it would be really nice to actually trust the weather guy's forecast for graduation day. It would also be nice if we didn't get winter showers on graduation day because dresses don't mix well with rain and cold.
3. It's harder to gather a suitable audience.Giphy
All right, let's face it––after slaving away for four or more years, you probably feel entitled to a bit of appreciation. It'd be nice if the aunt from Georgia, the cousins from Chicago and the grandparents back in Pakistan could all show up like they did for the last graduate in the family.
Unfortunately, when graduation is before winter break has officially even started and on a weekday, in the middle of the day, chances are a three or four man party might be your best bet at a crowd.
4. We miss out on the commercial fanfare.Giphy
Do I like having to pay 20 bucks for a graduation banner that is obviously worth no more than 10? Definitely not. All the same, it's nice when stores actually have more than one banner to choose from and when the graduation aisle is an actual highlighted section in every store instead of a tiny corner of space in Party City. Even they don't seem to care about the December peeps as much because one type of paper product design is apparently enough for every winter grad party.
5. Winter break sounds so much better than summer break.Giphy
Two or three measly weeks of winter break never seemed like much when compared to the long stretching months of summer. When you start counting down the days to graduation, though, it seems like the end of the semester can't come fast enough. And while people are making plans for visiting foreign countries and doing every sort of crazy thing imaginable come July, your plans are set for December.
6. It seems half-baked.Giphy
Let me tell you, it already feels weird prepping to finally leave the education system as a student after a continuous cycle since kindergarten. This is especially true since my sister will return to classes come January and my brother and mother will have to go back to their private school once break is over. Still, I'm not saying it's terrible to be the sloth that gets to sleep in for a bit.
7. We get the tougher end of the job search.Giphy
They say December graduates are just as likely to find jobs as spring graduates, but I've always considered that one of those feel-good lies people can say to make others feel better about their lives.
When you're in the education field, I think schools are definitely more interested in hiring at the start of the new school year and compared to spring, I don't think as many teachers really leave their jobs in December. Still, it gives us new teachers more chances to get our feet wet with subbing and other stuff (like relaxing). And less graduates means less competition, which is always a plus.
8. Everyone knows that something is not quite 'right.'Giphy
The general, accepted route that they gush over at college orientation is that you start in the fall, spend about four undergrad years having the best experiences of life and then graduate with all the spring hoopla. Now, that four-year policy is sorta an outdated model when people spend a year or two actually deciding what they want to do with their lives. It's pretty common to have a wacky college story, but December graduates have to answer questions about whether they're graduating early or late––because obviously one of the two probably happened.
9. We're generally a smaller group.Giphy
I don't know how much of that whole 'there is strength in numbers' adage is actually true, but in density we probably aren't breaking any records. That being said, there's probably closer bonds in that small group and less people means that you get more time in the spotlight. Sure, there's less of an audience, but there's less of a graduating crowd too–– which means a more efficient commencement and better chances of standing out.
10. Your family might have you reconsidering your life decisions.Giphy
Graduation and commencement traditions are typically a time to share your accomplishments with your family. If the family is having trouble attending or is just even concerned about your having to miss all the traditional fanfare of a spring graduation, they might be on to you about taking that last extra semester and maybe taking those classes you never got to 'explore' as you focused on your major. It might be enough to make you start wondering whether it really is a problem to be a fall grad.
11. It's still graduation.Giphy
At the end of it all, if you do enter the throng of us marked as December graduates, it's important to remember that it's still graduation. We've worked as hard as anyone and we are ready to make our mark in the world (and start earning some moolah). We want the grad party, the caps and gowns, the speeches and the diploma and the fact that it's atypical just proves that we are a unique graduating bunch!