The thought floated through my head throughout the entire commencement ceremony. One year until it would be my turn.
This time around, it wasn’t my ceremony, but it was the first time that I felt personally connected to the graduates. Over the past three years, I have witnessed their day-to-day struggles, their long term battles, and their well-deserved accomplishments, to say the least. We had performed together, sat in meetings with each other, texted each other in class, shared notes with each other, cried over our grades together. I laughed as we hung out together, they applying for job after job after job after job while I still had mountains of homework to blaze through.
“Enjoy it while you can,” they lamented, “seriously.”
Though I brushed their warnings off at first, things finally started to click when I finished my final presentation of junior year. My team was scheduled to give the very last presentation of the class, and as the judges searched for their final questions, I saw wide grins start to spread across the faces of my senior teammates. “We’re finished,” their eyes said, half ecstatic and half terrified.
We took pictures together, holding up our final prototype between us, and afterwards they grabbed my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said with a smile, “Enjoy your senior year!” Like their eyes, the greeting was half sincere and half cautionary.
About a week earlier, nearly all of my friends were preparing for their senior design presentations. I watched as some of my closest friends presented their research findings to panels of professors and potential employers. Many of their words and concepts went right over my head, and the questions seemed completely out of left field. Where do people think of these things?
Afterwards, I patted all of them on the back and, with a smile, inquired, “How does it feel to be done?” Across the board, they all responded that it didn’t feel too different at all. Likewise, I didn’t feel like a senior, regardless of what all of my friends were saying (and also dreading).
No, it didn’t hit me until the College of Engineering convocation, seeing them walk across the stage, knowing how hard they worked and how badly they wanted the degree that was then being handed to them.
The scattered comments throughout about the support from the graduates’ families and friends as well as the future certainly didn’t help either. I felt knots in my stomach whenever another proud mother or father slipped to the front of the audience to get the perfect shot of their son or daughter. Tears almost fell in my eyes when someone’s family got up and starting screaming, hollering, cheering for their loved one.
I imagined my family cheering my name as I receive my diploma. My friends likewise screaming their heads off for me as I carefully step offstage. It felt so real.
As the weekend progressed, and more and more friends walked across wide stages to receive diplomas, the feeling felt more and more real.
Next year, this will be me. My family will drive up to Boston, stay in a hotel, dress up nicely, ask me where to go for lunch afterwards. Even sooner, I’ll have to start applying for jobs, examining my own skills, reflect on what I actually want to do with myself. In just two short years, I’ll be expected to be settled into a job! Am I even ready for that?
Well, ready or not, the countdown in starting. As of May 24th, 2014, there are 358 days until BU 2015’s commencement ceremony on May 17th, 2015. This blog is an attempt to make sure that each and every one of those days will count.