The Real Reason People Cry at Graduation

Graduation. I’m only a freshman, but this word already brings tears to my eyes. These are not tears of joy and bittersweet happiness, readers. These are tears driven by pain, boredom, and overall unpleasantness.

If you’re a senior, then I’m sure you strongly disagree with me at this point. That’s entirely fine; everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, even when one doesn’t agree with me. This is what makes America special, the fact that those who disagree with me are allowed to be wrong.

Enough about society, though, let’s focus on graduation (a cornerstone of society). You see, graduation can be fun, but it rarely is. High School graduation is a long, arduous process where people make the mistake of giving a microphone to those who like to hear themselves talk, because they are the only ones who will fill a good half-hour. Rather than explain graduation as I did pep assemblies, I’m just going to hit some highlights and offer some brilliantly intelligent insight.

The Big 15

At our school, 15 students receive special honors. 5 students who received an exact 4.0, 5 students who had less than a 4.0 but took many A.P. classes, and 5 students who had 4.0’s and took numerous A.P. classes. Usually, these students leave college and immediately become lawyers, CEOs, or politicians.

I don’t mind any of that, though, because those people have a four-year head start. If I choose to go into any of those job markets, it will have been long enough for those people to be disgraced, fired, forced to resign, corrupted, or jailed.

The worst parts are the excuses. Parents of these students get incredibly annoyed at these teens because they always got very little sleep, so the students pay the faculty to make their excuses.

For example, “Adam Lee finished high school with a 198.0 weighted GPA. When not studying, he spent his time coaching peewee baseball for physically disabled children, single-handedly rebuilding small African countries, and donating blood and various organs to those who have a greater need. Also, Adam is proud to have finished his small start-up company, which some of you may be familiar with, called Google. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Mr. Lee flies out to the gulf of Mexico every other night to mop up the oil spill using his old T-shirts.”

However, that’s for only fifteen students, so it only takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on how many people in the audience give up all hope of amounting to anything by comparison and throw themselves to their deaths over the side of the bleachers.

The Scholarships

These can apply to all students, and, sadly, they usually do. This means that every single student who won anything in their life must come to the stage and be honored for their success.

While some scholarships can be worthy of admiration and honor, such as the extremely descriptive “Class of ’43 Scholarship,” most are fairly laughable. I kid you not when I say that one of our ‘speakers’ introduced the ‘OMEGA’ scholarship as being, “A 1,000 dollar grant to a student who exemplifies the normal expectations. The nominees must have between a 3.0-4.0 GPA, participate in a few after school activities, and have the national average of 1.89 siblings.”

If you are from the class of ’43 (1643, not 1943), you might find the most annoying type of scholarships incredibly creative. These are the ‘acronym’ scholarships, with semi-descriptive names. For example, the LEADERSHIP scholarship. This would be a scholarship awarded to someone who was Lethargic, Empathetic, Apathetic, Distant, Energetic, Rotund, Super, Hind-sighted, Interesting, and Perfect. As you can see, the things the acronym stands for are unimportant and often contradictory, but as long as the acronym is a buzzword it doesn’t matter.

Therefore, taking these into consideration, I propose the BEST-EVER scholarship. Those nominated would have to be people who constantly exceed expectations by breathing, thinking, and metabolizing, and the scholarship name stands for a person who is Borderline sociopathic, Exceptional, Semi-intelligent, Thick-headed, Exceptional, Very thick-headed, Exceptional, and Really very thick-headed. This scholarship would probably go to a future famous athlete, like the next O.J Simpson.

The Music

Pomp and Circumstance. Enough said. Moving on.

The Speeches

For college graduations, the speakers are usually entertaining enough to keep the audience from pulling out their smart phones to entertain themselves. At most high school graduations (or, at least at mine, but remember what I said at the beginning? Feel free to disagree), the speakers bore the audience to the point where even the smart phones die of boredom. Since showing is better than telling (a picture is worth 1,000 words), I’ll give you a sample speech.

Mr. Speaker: “Thank you, thank you, you’re too kind. I believe that the real honor should go to our graduates, who have undertaken a great commitment, overcome a difficult challenge, and deserve our congratulations. This is a milestone, a successful transition in the journey of life.

“I remember my graduation. The excitement, the joy, and the fire department. But that’s another story. Today, the focus is the graduates, who are decked out in blue-semi-navy garments with square hats that fit almost too snugly. It is a special night, tonight. I am privileged to be speaking to…”

I don’t remember how the rest goes, because at that point I faked an upset stomach and asked to be excused to the bathroom. Eventually, my peers caught on, and, well, let’s just say they really ought to make those bathrooms bigger. By the time we came out, it looked like we were actually sick; we walked out sweating from being tightly packed together.

All things considered, I think it is entirely reasonable that graduation brings tears to one’s eyes. Thus, I’ve added it to my list. As of now, the things that make me cry most often are smoke, onions, popular music, pet fish that have died, and graduations.

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  1. thinkellen says:

    Very true, most speeches at high school graduations are of the extreme snooze variety.

    But there are exceptions! My High School brother tells me that this year, the valedictorian gave an extended parody of the Old Spice Guy. Is that awesome or what? =D

  2. Phil and Ted says:

    That is pretty cool. If only something like that happened at my school. Hey, I've still got THREE MORE, so who knows, right?

    - Phil

  3. Chialphagirl says:

    College graduation is worse. More "important" people to honor, more "important" speeches to listen to. I just went to a college graduation that started at 7pm and was over at 11pm. Seriously…it was aweful.

  4. Phil and Ted says:

    Really? Well, then, I guess I have something to look forward to.

    - Phil

  5. Your Big 15 sounds a lot like Prize Day at my school. It's when everybody piles into the sweltering gym and endlessly applauds the same kids who get the same awards every year. It makes my head want to explode.
    This post was hilarious!!! I especially loved the "Best Ever" award. I'm glad I know what to expect at my graduation!!
    — Jen

  6. Phil and Ted says:

    The same thing happens at my school; usually there are a few brilliant kids who win most of the awards.

    Glad you liked the post.

    - Phil

  7. or maybe because the kids you grew up with are adults and leaving and going to college and it’s emotional? i mean that’s why i sobbed my eyes out a few days ago, but sure. be insensitive and an asshole to the kids who’re smarter than you.

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