At Jian Kuan’s Commencement last night, Adeline and I were questioning the use of the word commencement for this ceremony. “Don’t they usually call it Convocation?” she said. I certainly think convocation sounds more prestigious.
Yet, commencement is aptly used here. Other than ‘a ceremony at which academic degrees and diplomas are conferred’, commencement means ‘A beginning; a start’.
Last night, I saw hundreds of fresh graduates in their gowns at the UCC. The University probably tires of this. Rounds and rounds of graduation ceremonies year after year. And it’s sad because to each of these graduates, this day holds so much anticipation and trepidation. The defining moment that we have been working towards all our young life, the culmination of our academic pursuits. Everything boils down to the day we receive our scrolls. And nobody else actually cares enough.
Society may have its own markers for adulthood. We might have at times, made bravado attempts to take on our world as tough-speaking adults and perhaps also just as frequently, have cowered back behind the shields of our status as students. But the day we’re being handed our scrolls, we would no longer have that privilege of pleading ignorance. Henceforth, we would be judged to possess the faculty of reason; we would have to take full responsibility for our deeds. We would be adults and no one will take any excuse from us.
If we’re poor, it would be our own fault. If we’re suffering, it would be our own fault. And if we fall, no one’s going to coddle us and say, “stand up, child, be brave”.
On that day, we’re on our own. On that day, the rest of our life would commence.
P.S. It’s such an anti-climax to that chilling conclusion but I wanna add that girls look way better than guys in that gown! ‘Cos we get to show just a bit of ankles on that sexy pair of stilettoes! So hot!