Diplomat Richard Haass was announced as the speaker for the class of 2016’s commencement ceremony Wednesday morning. The announcement served as a painful reminder that graduation is, unfortunately, actually happening. To prevent potential tears or hyperventilation, I’ll omit the (steadily approaching) graduation date.
If you’re a senior reading this, then you’ve almost certainly had the “are you going to graduation?” discussion with your roommates, friends and/or parents. If your answer is “no,” I implore you to reconsider.
I had never heard of Haass before, either. No, he didn’t write or co-direct “Frozen,” and he isn’t a recipient of the Medal of Honor. In fact, he didn’t even graduate from UNH. But he’s an extremely accomplished guy who has been recognized internationally for his diplomatic services. I wouldn’t write him off as a speaker just because he lacks name recognition.
There are plenty of other reasons to attend the ceremony, too. Drake’s “YOLO” logic works perfectly. I don’t think there’s anyone who will be graduating from UNH as an undergraduate more than once. If there is anyone who’s repeating the experience, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to write a story about you. It’s as rare, special and jovial an occasion as any, and it publicly honors all the work you’ve put in the past few years.
Obviously, you don’t need to attend the ceremony to graduate, and you’ll get your degree in the mail either way. But consider your friends, loved ones and others who would be joyful to see you cross the stage as a symbol of earning your degree from UNH. Whether financially or emotionally, we have all had someone who supported us and helped us earn our degrees. Crossing the stage is a way of validating their support and showing them what they helped you achieve. Bearing that in mind, it would be selfish not to attend the ceremony.
To borrow some logic from my mom, there are lots of people who would be happy to have the opportunity to attend college and cross the stage at graduation as a symbol of what they’ve achieved, but can’t for reasons out of their control. It would be a shame to take this opportunity for granted.
As seniors, there are only so many moments at UNH left, and all of them are worth cherishing. By choosing not to attend, you’d be robbing yourself of a memory that’s certain to last you a lifetime.
At the end of the day, going to graduation is the perfect way to cap off your UNH career, pun very much intended. I’m hopeful your years at UNH were as positive as mine. Besides, it’s a celebratory event at UNH. In my experience, anything celebratory at UNH is a good time. Err, a great time.
If you’re not interested in going for yourself, then go for someone else. Your final act as an undergraduate student could be making someone’s day while celebrating your accomplishment in graduating with your friends and peers. And that’s something worth doing.