Teachers, parents and students are counting down the days until the end of school, but - more importantly - graduates are counting down time (some, to the second) until graduation.
After years of reading, writing, researching...after late nights of dividing, dissecting and deciding which answer is correct and when sleep will come...and after all the time studying and striving for success, these people are finally done! They will walk across stages, get handed diplomas, have their family members and friends cheer for them and celebrate all their hard work.
Then, real life will sink in. Life decisions will need to be made, regarding what is next: More school? A career? Moving? Starting a business? Traveling? Figuring it all out? Or just pretending to?
Regardless, these students have made it - and these memes summarize this time in their lives!
Graduates are an interesting breed of people; they are at a strange limbo time, as they struggle to wrap up final assignments and plans, then enter a whole new world, one full of new responsibilities and a new set of struggles.
Despite running around like a chicken with its head cut off, scrambling to figure out adulthood and major life decisions, graduates think they know everything. High schoolers transitioning into college and the workforce still act like seniors - big fish in little seas. Soon, they realize that they are now the freshmen. Young adults who are graduating into the real world think that their degrees mean they are experts on every single issue known to mankind and cannot wait to share that knowledge with the world. However, they might not land that dream job, bills and loans will start piling up, and they may face the pressures of having to hurry and obtain a spouse, a house with a picket fence and 2.5 kids.
14 Stop Asking!
What am I doing when I graduate? Where am I going to college? Do I know where I will work? What do I want to be when I grow up? Do I have a backup plan? Have I signed and sent in all my applications and forms? Do I know where I’m living? Do I know my roommate? Have I looked into scholarships? Internships? Relationships?
No! So stop asking!
There’s a fine line between going with the flow and being overly prepared; on one hand, there is so much preparation that goes into getting ready for life after graduation. However, seniors - whether in high school or college - quickly get burnt out, meaning the last thing they want to do is do more work (even if that work is necessary for surviving the next state of life).
13 Brace Yourselves
Not everything associated with this big time in life is negative. Graduations are also about celebrating, partying, receiving gifts and getting praised by friends and family members due to finally making it. And what does all of that equal? Photos. Tons of photos. Everywhere. Parents will have a social media album dedicated to their star child and will eventually figure out how to tag this star child. Friends will all want photos with the graduate in his/her cap and gown and will blast these out on every platform. And graduates themselves will want to document every step of the day, so people realize that all the sleepless nights and excruciating tests and mountains of debt are all well worth it.
12 Where Are The Jobs?
There is a bit of unfairness that comes along with graduating, especially when it comes to college graduations in particular; after getting accepted into a top university, selecting the perfect major, fulfilling all degree requirements (ranging from classes, labs and reports to exams and dissertations) and getting handed that sought-after piece of paper, it seems that a graduate wouldn’t have any trouble getting a job. For some, though, it’s a gruelling process that can last years. Even people who are graduating summa cum laude are competing against people who are graduating summa cum laude AND interned in New York. People who are graduating early from honors’ programs are competing against people who did the same - and who know people who work in their desired job industry. The point is that the hard work isn’t over yet!
11 Please Don’t Leave
Here’s a sad graduation scenario: All my friends are sending out invitations, receiving towels and gift cards, ordering cakes with their faces on them and planning outfits that will go best with their caps and gowns.
Me? I’m only a junior. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten in with this friend group! I wanted to hang with the older, wiser, cooler kids, but now, they are having the times of their lives, and I’m still stuck in school. They are basking in the glory of completing courses, and I’m avoiding even thinking about next August. Worst of all, they will all be leaving soon, and I’ll be stuck here. Alone. For another year.
But in 365 of days...They better come back to town, because then it will be MY turn to celebrate...and my turn to stress about what to do next, struggle to figure out life and scream because I can’t make any more decisions.
10 It Was Awful
There are many layers to graduating. First, students need to turn in final assignments and textbooks and end relationships and contracts (since they are probably moving off somewhere). Next, they must deal with everyone texting and asking about the location of the after party, their plans after the summer and so on. And, of course, these people must not forget that soon enough, college or a career will start, bringing on new books, responsibilities, assignments, relationships and contracts.
And the fact that - in order for it all to happen - graduates are expected to be the center of attention for a whole day, on stage in front of a large crowd...That’s a lot, too, especially for introverted grads who are just. ready. to. be. done.
9 Don’t Trip
To say that graduates have a lot going on is an understatement. Wrapping up high school/college, preparing for the next chapter of life and making sure that the big day is as epic as possible - There are so many tiny details to get in order! How embarrassing it would be for a graduate to finally have his/her name called, to stand to go get that diploma/handshake/tassel moved...and then to trip!
If that happens, though, it’s fine! Shake it off! Who cares! The fact that those students are up there at all is a huge accomplishment, and nothing can bring them down. Besides, it could turn into a funny moment that is played off cooly, a viral meme or a new career; someone in the audience could be looking for a clumsy person to be in a new movie!
Another possibly embarrassing graduation moment that students should be prepared for is when the sound of crickets occur. Usually, ceremonies have a welcoming message, speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian, some sort of history/walk-down-memory lane presentation and a farewell address. That means there are at least five different times when graduates could make jokes and get no laughs. They spend all this time preparing words that they hope people will remember them by, full of humor and inspiration, but at times, these words fall flat.
We’ll state it again, though: That’s okay! Two minutes after the joke is made, no one will even remember it anyway! People will be focused on other things and other people - like the beverages they are about to enjoy or the guy who is picking his nose in the front row. Nevertheless, practice that speech in front of someone before delivering it on the big night, okay?
7 May The Odds Be In Your Favor
Here’s another awful graduation scenario: I wasn’t necessarily “school” material, but I slid by, did what needed to be done and put in some extra hours here at the end to make up for missing days/work. Now, all that stands between me and that needed piece of paper is a week of finals. However, since I was known for skipping class and turning in late work, I’m not entirely sure about all the content that will be on these tests. So, what if I fail? What if I flunk horribly? What if I’m not able to graduate because I don’t meet the minimum requirements that someone my age needs to be done? What if I get to walk across the stage, but then I have summer school?
I need this. I earned this. Final exams are here - so may the odds be forever in my favor.
6 What Just Happened?
And on the topic of classes - the things that must be finished before graduating, partying and moving on - many graduates find themselves wondering what just happened. Described as a limbo, a quarter-life crisis or a twilight zone, the weeks after graduation are just plain weird.
After the celebratory day, reality starts to set in. Graduates realize that they really are done with high school/college. They really will (probably) be moving, leaving behind loved ones and starting a new adventure - which is exciting but scary. During this time, people are bound to ask themselves what they even learned in school. They may worry that they spent too much time in sports, at home or with friends and not enough time studying. Despite, they learned something and do at least one thing correct - because here they all are!
5 What To Be When I Grow Up
At eighteen years old, people are supposed to know what they want to be and do for the rest of their lives. Sure, students can change their college majors, but with the time and money put into college courses, it’s not ideal to take something that won’t actually count towards a degree. That being said, some idea and plan needs to be taking place, so that, after four years or so, these students can graduate and go work in their trained fields.
Nowadays, though, it is super common for this not to happen. Whether young adults can’t find work in certain industries, realize they don’t like the real-world versions of these industries or find the inspiration to do something new and different (like starting a business or going back to school yet again), many are ending up in fields that don’t 100 percent line up with their degrees. For better or for worse, it’s happening, so just drink another Dos Equis!
4 Please Shut Up
Another varying aspect of graduations is the size of them, and we have all seen - whether in real life or only on the big screen - the massive schools that graduate thousands of students at a time. The cool part is that the ceremony seems like one big party, with fun signs and balloons and confetti. The cons of the situation include: a. finding a place to park and to sit b. losing hours of life (since we all only care about the one or two people we came to watch) and c. the surrounding families.
Sure, your family can be annoying, but at every graduation, there will be that one family that knows how to have a good time...yet doesn’t realize that it’s not party time yet.
We all have to sit nicely and quietly through allllll of these names, and we all want to cheer for our loved one(s)...but we also want to hear everything that is being said - not just one family whistling, blowing an air horn and screaming out some long, weird nickname.
3 And On The Other Hand…
On the other hand, there are numerous reasons why a graduate may not have a cheer section at all, ranging from unfortunate situations and family living too far away to a certain graduate having numerous graduations (from different schools, with different degrees, etc.) and not bothering to have people come in for all of them. Another reason there might not be cheering is because a family missed out on hearing their graduates’ name being called because of the loud people previously mentioned.
Never fear, though; as sure as we are that a family will show up with an air horn, we are also sure that a Good Guy Greg will be at all graduation ceremonies. Not only is this person super sweet and caring, but he likes to celebrate life, too - especially big milestones. So Greg will cheer his heart out when every name is called (but at a polite volume), to widen the smiles on graduates’ faces just a bit more.
2 Let The Party Begin
So, yes, graduation and the weeks surrounding it can be some of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing in life, but, as mentioned, it is also one of the most exciting and celebratory times in life. Therefore, we understand if graduates want to start drinking as soon as they step off that stage! We understand if loved ones will be coming in from all over to watch a college graduation that will lead into a night of food and fun - and more drinking. Graduates definitely earn their graduation nights, when they can finally let loose, stop working, have fun and focus only on the present - a festive time that may or may not involve keg, cocktails and consumption of Captain Morgan, Cabernet and/or Coors.
1 And Last But Not Least…
Let’s all just celebrate graduation season by staring at this image of Mr. Ryan Gosling. He is known for his sultry look, his incredible movies and his “hey, girl” memes. In this case, Ryan is congratulating each and every graduate of 2017. He is peering into the souls of these people, understanding the pain and suffering that was endured for years. He is giving off a peace and calmness that proves that it is not time to stress; that next phase of life may be filled with hunting for a job or looking for another school or moving away - but all of that will get sorted out.
Right now, just focus on Ryan Gosling, this beautiful time in life and the fact that it is over.