Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You'd have thought we were at a basketball game...

My little brother graduated on Saturday. That means all four of us have graduated from college. We figured it out and including my Mom’s graduation after going back to school we have been to 10 graduations… high schools, colleges, and grad schools. Unless the youngest decides to carry on to grad school we are done for at least 18 years… not including pre-school and kindergarten graduation.

One thing I have noticed since beginning my almost annual attendance of graduation ceremonies is the declining respect for the ceremony and those in attendance. At my middle brother’s college graduation (he is 2 years older than me), graduates were walking across the stage, shaking the Dean’s hand and the promptly walking up the stairs out of the basketball arena. There was so much hooting and hollering that it felt like we were watching a basketball game and the hum of everyone talking was almost louder than the announcer. So, when I graduated from the same university, they showed us. They did the regular speech by a State Representative or something then had us flip our tassels from one side to the other, and toss our hats. No names were announced and we were done in 30 minutes. As compared to my middle brother’s that lasted about 3 hours.

So, when the hubs and I went to my little brother’s graduation on Saturday, I told him that it would all be over in about 30 minutes because the University had stopped announcing names. HA! Well, they did. And, the behavior of those in attendance was worse than my middle brother’s graduation (we all went to the same University). In fact, my little brother sent my middle brother a text during the commencement speech telling him how the girl next to him had been on her cell phone since the beginning of the ceremony. He did ask her to get of the phone… I believe his exact words might have been, “Have some respect, and get off the phone.” He is always pretty direct. She obliged. So, about 1 hour after the beginning of the names being announced if was finally close to my little brother’s name being called. We saw him get up and walk up to the stage… and then we heard the name of the girl in front of him being called… and then we heard cheers…and more cheers… oh, and a few more hoots and hollers… and then we saw my little brother walk off the stage. We never heard his name announced. The family of the girl next to my little brother cheered through 3 graduates’ names. It just so happened that this family was sitting a section over and about 3 rows down from where my family was sitting. It couldn’t have been worse coincident.

It would not make me so irritated if they didn’t say before the being of the names, “Please hold your applause until the end of the names… we have at least 2,500 graduates and would like for this to go expeditiously. We will not wait for cheers to stop before we proceed.” (or something like that). The problem is that they got to hear their graduate’s name announced and we didn’t. It’s not a huge deal, but let’s just say that my little brother really worked hard to graduate. He took 18 hours for the last 3 semesters and worked almost full time for most of his college career. And, the other thing that made me so mad was that the second they finished cheering they packed up and left. Yeah, the family of 15 who cheered through 3 names left.

I understand being celebratory in the fact that someone has overcome changes and achieved something as great as graduating from college, but to over shadow someone’s moment is disrespectful. You can never get that moment back.

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