Well, I did it. I walked across the stage in a gown and cape, shook hands with the Chancellor and Dean, and became an official alumni of university. Looking back now…gosh, I can’t believe I actually did it. My mom always told me that one day I’ll look back at Sauder and realize how hard it was.  I wish I had put more passion into it. I wish I had gotten more involved. As one of the speakers during the ceremony said, “University is not just what you learn in your classes; it is what you learn from clubs, and your friends, and yes, even going to the Pit.

I took the bus from work and arrived at campus an hour early so I walked around and tried to get that special feeling that I was part of something special, but I never got it. That made me sad because it made me feel empty. Then I sat on the benches and watched other grads walk by –  or struggling to walk by – in their heels, and carrying teddy bears and balloons.  I tried to imagine how different my experience would have been if I had known more people. I felt empty because I wanted something more and I never got it. I saw faces that I recognized but souls that I didn’t know. I saw people whose ambitions I knew but whose dreams I had never met.  And that made me incredibly sad in a way.

In the Chancellor’s speech, she said that we have to try everything because our taste buds are still developing. She said that the future will bring change and that we should remember our first day of university, our first exam, our first love, our first loss, our first time we rode a bike and realize that we are good at change.  Her words made me a bit apprehensive because I know that I am not good at change.  Change still frightens me; it is something I have to work on.

I didn’t view graduation as a celebration of myself. I know some people do (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but to me,  I always just assumed that I would graduate from a university four years after high school so it didn’t seem like a big deal. Maybe I just didn’t really feel like celebrating or maybe I didn’t understand what we were celebrating. If we were celebrating the fact that I got the degree, maybe we should hold the applause until I make something of it and use it for the better.  If we were celebrating the road I took to get there, a congratulatory note would have sufficed.

When I got to the room where we had to wait and line up before I going to the ceremony, I somehow became the pinner of gowns. I helped a guy who had crutches and  helped someone whose sash was completely crooked. It felt good because I felt useful. I wish that I could feel like that more often.

At long last, my name was called (at least, I assumed it was my name despite the butchered pronunciation of it) and I walked across the stage. It was all fine; I didn’t trip. However, as I was posing for a pictures with my family after, I looked down at my feet and guess what: my shoes were on the wrong feet. I, a university graduate with a business degree, walked across the stage wearing my shoes on the wrong feet…

Yup, that definitely sounds like someone who’s ready to take on the world!


Kazandra Pangilinan

Kazandra is probably not that different from you. She eats, sleeps,and wonders about how to make the most of this life. This blog is dedicated to the trials and triumphs she has experienced in the process of growing up in her quest to find meaning, connection and happiness.

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