This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.
Yesterday marked my third graduation commencement for my bachelor’s degree, fourth if you count the stupid sixth grade one where we moved up to seventh grade in high school. What a day. Is it presumptuous of me to say I don’t want to participate in another commencement ever? Honestly, no more, please.
It doesn’t help that I felt really unsettled and unhappy after the commencement ended. Several factors were involved in making what should have been a climatic, joyful moment into the opposite. They will be ranged from mundane stupid reasons to more serious ones.
One of the more sillier reasons is that I think going through last year’s commencement for my associate’s degree left me feeling that this one isn’t that big of a deal. I actually sort of begrudgingly signed up to walk because I was a cum laude, and I wanted to wear that ugly yellow stole that indicated my status. However, unfortunately for me, they didn’t have those stoles for this year’s commencement. Instead, all they did was after they announced our names, they just said “cum laude” or whatever. Let’s just say I felt rather ripped off. Plus I wasn’t happy because I forgot my 2007 tassel. I consider myself class of 2007, not 2008, and the only tassel they provided for us was for 2008. X_X;; BLARGH.
Also, it didn’t help that I already knew that without Mrs. Lee and her strings, the ceremony was not going to be the same like last year. Without Mrs. Lee attending, without knowing her being in the audience, I was already upset at the fact that my favourite teacher was not going to be there. She gave me a lot of support during my college years, and I really wanted her to be there and have her strings students perform the processional and the recessional. Unfortunately, Far East Honour Music Festival happened to be this bloody week.
On a more serious side, one of the graduate candidates recently passed away. He and I took couple classes together couple years ago. Then I discovered that he married a Korean woman who had two children. The two kids came to the high school I worked at, and I got to know the kids without knowing who their father was. Imagine my surprise when I discovered he was their father. After that, we would often see each other on the base, and we’d say hello to each other and whatnot. The last couple times I saw him late last year, I noticed he had lost a lot of weight, but it didn’t come make me think anything out of the ordinary.
He was the last candidate to be mentioned, and he was mentioned as a special one. They announced that he had a feeling he wasn’t going to complete his degree in time. The last class he attended himself happened to be this past fall. By then, he only needed one more class, but it was based in Osan instead of Yongsan. Therefore, his wife attended the class for him, two nights a week, and he finished up his degree in that way. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to attend the commencement. Instead, UMUC invited his wife and his two children to come accept the degree. They went up, the wife was holding a picture of him, and they accepted his tassel, academic hood, diploma, and pin. Then the audience applauded and gave the family a standing ovation. I think I was one of the first people to stand up amongst the graduate candidates. I just had to. I . . . was rather shocked to hear this and am sorry that I didn’t know of this earlier. He will be missed, Mr. Chip.
That ended rather on a sombre note. But then, that note became very bitter and angry. While I was walking out during the recessional, I saw a face in the audience I wasn’t expecting. Actually, there were two faces I wasn’t expecting. One belonged to a person I adore and respected. The other belonged to a person I cannot stand within an inch of my life. Both of them wished me congratulations, and I gave them my thanks, but it was hard. Hard to be civil. Difficult to not resort to violence.
Then the obligatory picture-session occurred, and we went to the reception at Dragon Hill Lodge. Afterwards, my friends and I headed to Hongik University area, also known as Hongdae, and we went to eat dinner at Sorrento’s and headed to Gr8, a hookah bar in the area. We tried out strawberry, blueberry, and mango while we were there. This proved to be a rather interesting experience. OH! And we discovered that chocolate-flavoured Vodka Mudshake was the best new drink to be discovered in the world. Too bad I didn’t feel like partying too much, though. *sighs* Yesterday should have been a happy one. It started out fine, but the conclusion was very unsettling.