Attending baccalaureates and graduations has been part of my schedule since I was a freshman in high school because every year since then the band, orchestra, and/or choir has had to perform during the ceremony. Each year, the day becomes more and more bitter sweet because I have developed stronger relationships with those throwing their caps up into the air. The thought that it is just one year closer to my own graduation does not bother me. Spending the day listening to the accomplishments of some of my friends is enough for me. It makes me appreciate the time I spend at an institution and that the effort put into every minute of the day, whether for work or play, is worth it, maybe more than I realize. Having the ability to sing with them on their last day is something even better.
As I did when I graduated high school, seniors respect and admire any and all support they receive, especially those who obviously care about them and are sad to see them go. There is an odd therapeutic feeling in knowing that you will be missed. In essence, I believe we all want to know that someone misses us and I also believe that everyone has someone who does. A friend back home or a parent who has to see you move on with your life, the feeling of being missed smacks you in the face as the infamous power of independence takes a hold of your shoulders and pushes you into the real world you already knew, but maybe never fully experienced.
For me, standing on the choir risers looking at the faces of thousands of students and their family members who traveled countless miles to see the most important milestone of dedication an individual may experience is rather humbling. This day is not for me. This is truer today than all the other days I am meant to live for other people. I use my voice and smile today to accompany an event I did not work for. I did not accomplish the many things the college’s president states. Then why do I struggle to hold the emotions back? Why do the tears flow more slowly after each year of seeing this to the point that my own graduation felt grandly routine? Is the main thought that of how proud I am of my friends? Or is it a selfish uncertainty as to when or if I will see their shining faces again?
The culmination of thousands of hours of work led the thousands of seniors graduating around this time to stand in front of thousands of loved ones in the most justified session of show and tell one can be a part of. Those decorated caps mark the distinguished from the spectators and should be worn to show humble glory.
To my friends who have seen the end of their high school or college career, I can only wish you the best of luck and hope that you know the impression you have left on me and each individual you have touched. No more songs of goodbye are necessary. I think I will just stick with giving hugs, reminiscent messages, and times we remember as fondly as we will remember our friendships.