Is College Commencement Worth Going To? - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:10 AM   #1
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Is College Commencement Worth Going To?

This is probably better suited for Zoo Confessionals, but ZC doesn't seem like a place to go for quick responses lately, and I have half a day to make this decision.

I am about to graduate from college - fall graduation - the commencement ceremony is the day after classes end - Saturday, November 21st. The problem?

My dad has an annual business trip every November, a conference for people in his field. The host city alternates between five possible cities from year to year, and if it's one that appeals to my mom and I, we join him, since his employer pays for the hotel room and his airfare, so that the only cost would be airfare for my mom and I. This year, it is in San Diego. My parents have been there, but I've never been there.

The hotel room is paid for from Wednesday evening, November 18th, to Tuesday morning, November 24th. Since the airfare for my mom and I is separate from the airfare for my dad, and since I have finals through Wednesday, my mom and I would leave Thursday. The commencement ceremony is on the 21st. So, if I go to the ceremony, I can't leave until late afternoon Saturday.

The airfare isn't cheap. If we leave Saturday afternoon, we're paying $1000 airfare for essentially two days in San Diego. If we leave Thursday, we can probably get a cheaper airfare because it's not the weekend, and we'd have four and a half days in San Diego. So, really, if I go to the commencement ceremony, we probably won't go to San Diego at all.

So, the question is: Is college graduation ceremony worth giving up a four-day San Diego vacation for? Because I don't have any other family in the area, everybody lives elsewhere, and my dad will be in San Diego no matter what, and I don't have many friends at my university(Wright State University, Dayton, OH), so my mom will be the only person there for me. The ceremony is three hours long and I would have to be there two hours in advance, so it would be five hours. Graduation ceremonies can be boring. I would sit through three hours, for the 20-second snapshot of me walking across the stage, receiving my degree, and shaking somebody's hand. 20 seconds, and with my mom being the only one there who cares(other than me). Four days in San Diego gone for that.

And yet I'm torn, and I don't know why. And if I do go to commencement, I have to turn in my RSVP card by tomorrow afternoon at 5PM.

I know, nobody can decide for me. And will I look back in twenty years and regret not having a picture of that 20 seconds?

But I really want to go to San Diego too.

I've been trying to decide for weeks. San Diego, commencement, commencement, San Diego.

Advice? Thoughts? Is college commencement worth it?

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:21 AM   #2
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I never went to my university graduation, and I'm still bummed about it 7 years later. Granted, I had the flu and was puking my guts out, so attending was completely out of the question. I was so upset that I couldn't make it. I knew it would be hours long and extremely boring, but I so wanted to walk across the stage and receive my diploma and have people cheer for me. Instead I just got it in the mail, which was a huge letdown after so many years of work.

San Diego will always be there. Your college graduation? Not so much. It sounds like it would be a fun trip, but you only graduate once. Maybe it might not be so fun to attend the ceremony, but I think you might regret it later if you don't go. Even though the circumstances were out of my control, I wish I had been able to go to mine.

Just my two cents. Good luck with whatever you decide, and congrats on the graduation!

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:29 AM   #3
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i guess it depends on how you feel. i'm also unsure if i'd attend my commencement. how proud are you of graduating? i know that sounds silly, but do you look at your degree as just a piece of paper, or do you really view it as a major accomplishment? as thora said, san diego will always be there, so you can always go another time if you'd like. spending $1000 on airfare for two days in a city does seem a bit silly. so i guess you just have to think about what the ceremony means to you. will you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride to stand there with the rest of your classmates to get your degree? or would you rather just get the piece of paper and get out?

i know you said you don't really have any other family there (which i totally know how that feels), but what about friends? do you have a lot of friends who are graduating as well? if so, then i'd say go for the graduation ceremony.

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Old 11-06-2009, 02:03 AM   #4
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I almost wasnt going to go to mine either, but I changed my mind at the last minute and I'm glad I did. Definitely go. Theres a long story that I just typed out, then realized that no one would want to hear, so erased it, but theres an enormous sense of accomplishment in attending your graduation ceremony. You dont realize it, but the years you spent in school have changed you a lot and you've learned so much that you might take for granted now. Commencement sort of closes a chapter of your life and it can be a little sentimental. I hate to admit it, but I got a little choked up at mine. Anyway, you should go
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:02 AM   #5
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It didn't mean that much to me and looking back (it will be 25 years in June) I find I hardly remember any of it (don't remember actually receiving my diploma at all). I've never been big on ceremony though, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.

I think whether or not it's worth it to you depends largely on how you feel about marking milestones in your life. If it feels important to you, you should probably go; if you keep thinking "fuck, I do not want to do this crap", then you will probably never regret missing it.
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:48 AM   #6
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Didn't attend mine, no regrets. It would depend on who's speaking. The President (of the country, not the college) spoke at ours the year before, had I been in that class I would have attended. To be honest I don't look at my BA as some super achievement so I just didn't care. I think I was halfway to vacation on the Gulf during our commencement.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:14 AM   #7
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I vaguely remember my undergraduate commencement. My master's commencement was much more meaningful, for many reasons.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:11 PM   #8
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I went to mine but I was sick and felt like I was going to pass out the whole time. I was glad I went at the time because my whole family was able to attend but looking back on it 8 years later, I don't even know where any of the pictures are from that day nor do I even know where any of my former classmates are. My parents wanted me to go and I agreed because at the time I had a little joke going on with the president of the university. I met him on his first day at the school at a reception in the grand hall, with a few hundred other students. That day happened to be my very last 1st day of school there. He asked everyone their major and how long they had left. Everyone said X amout of semesters or years and I said something like 90 days and counting. It was a small campus so I saw him a lot over those 90 days. He remembered our meeting and would yell across the lawn "how many days left as of today!?!?" So really, the only reason I wanted to attend was so he could hand me my diploma and so I could get a pic with him. He gave me the big thumbs up and was cheering me on as I walked across the stage like I was someone he really had gotten to know but honestly that was not the case. I don't think he ever even knew my name but I really appreciated his enthusiasm for me as I finished my last semester. But I'm not so sure I would have gone, especially given the fact that I had a nasty cold, if I wouldn't have had the little relationship with the president my last semester.

I also graduated from culinary school about a year and a half ago. It's the degree path I should have pursued all along. So I flew my ass back to MN from AZ for less than 48 hours so I could walk across that stage in my chefs uniform and get my degree. My family got there well over an hour early so they could be in the front row. That day meant way more to me than my BA commencement did.

But anyways, San Diego will always be there so I say go to your commencement. If you decide to go on the trip instead, you'll always have that memory as well and can say this is the trip I went on when I graduated....
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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Who gave you the idea that San Diego was worth all this hand-wringing?
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:29 PM   #10
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I skipped my commencement in protest, in spite of my graduating with a number of commendations and so forth, because we were required to wear robes which were loaned out by the University of Illinois. The loan was not free, though--you had to pay $40, which wasn't refunded. I graduated with only $26 in the entire world, so I suppose it was both logistics and protest. But I promise that I would've skipped it even if I had the money. It was infuriating to know that we had to pay to participate. My fucking name is engraved on a plaque, at the school, but I had to pay to be at my own graduation. Fucking awful.
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:27 PM   #11
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I think my stupid high school graduation cost more than college (if I'd gone)!
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:48 PM   #12
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I went to my college graduation ceremony and I am so glad I did. Mine was super long... we had the all-university ceremony in a large arena where all grads marched in, there were the requisite speeches, honorary degrees were conferred and then PhDs and Masters Degrees. Then, everyone leaves and each college has its own ceremony where bachelors degrees are conferred. It was a long day, but, when I had that piece of paper in my hand, that was the culmination of four years of hard work, I was thrilled.

It's a once in a lifetime thing, and if you think for a moment you may regret missing the ceremony, you should attend. San Diego will always be there, your college graduation will not.

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