Go out with a bang at graduation

With a click of a button, I announce my intent to graduate and I find myself wondering how the convocation ceremony will play out.

Horror stories circulate every year. Girls in monstrous heels longer than our degrees strut around. You’re already on a stage; how much more elevated do you need to be? Apparently a girl wiped out pretty hard at the November convocation. One rendition of the story has her heels flying off her feet and nailing the back of her head. Since I plan on avoiding an epic faceplant, I’m going to rule out that pair of spike-bedazzled, rhinestone-encrusted red platform pumps. I’m graduating, not walking the Jeffrey Campbell footwear fashion runway.

Then there’s the dude sporting flip-flops and sunglasses—a personal favourite of mine. High school graduation wouldn’t have been complete without the flip-flop guy, so why not carry the tradition over to university? I know which dude this is. He sits in the Meeting Place in his Roots sweatpants eating his meatball sub from Subway. And the sunglasses don’t fool anyone. His bloodshot red eyes would be less obvious than the Ray-Bans.

I’ve also heard of the numerous makeup messes. The June convocation is already warm enough, but apparently they usher you and hundreds of other students into small, windowless rooms so you can really get your money’s worth out of your graduation gown, one droplet of sweat at a time.

Since most makeup isn’t swamp-proof, anyone who dipped their face in a paint tray of foundation and bronzer is usually wearing most of that makeup on their necks by the time the photographers come around.

Most astounding of all is last year’s protester. In his red floppy-brimmed hat, 26-year-old Michael Vipperman climbed onto the stage and said, “I hereby renounce this degree,” in support of the Québec student protests. From what I understand, he still took his degree, but his story made it into The Toronto Star.

For many of us, convocation is the last time we’ll ever be regarded as students. Compared to life after graduation, university life is cushy. When else in your life can you get away with wearing flip-flops, fake eyelashes, and studded heels to a formal event? I’m hoping someone will create their own “court jester”-style hat to match that of the official handing out of degrees.

One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned from university is the importance of taking the time to live out dreams. I’ve travelled Europe, stumbled home on the subway, and lost myself in strange places and weird scenarios in my university years. When I retire decades from now, I want to look back on a life equally balanced in hard work and irresponsible adventure. In fact, I might just consider wearing flip-flops to grad.

Ok, no, not really.


Stefanie Marotta

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