Sunday, May 18, 2014

RBOC: Liveblogging the graduation exercises

  • Why am I here, you may wonder. A friend of mine is hosting a small reception after the formalities, and I didn't want to miss it. And, like I said, every use of the regalia helps to amortize the cost.
  • Of course getting here in time to stash a bottle of wine in the fridge meant that I didn't have time to finish my morning coffee. This will probably become a problem soon.
  • The more songs, prayers, addresses, and parades that a university includes in its graduation exercises, the less dignified it will seem.
  • Having someone do her best Kate Smith impersonation while singing the entire fucking text of "America the Beautiful" will leave all dignity in tatters.
  • The more the speakers repeatedly emphasize how amazing the students are, the more they actually index the rampant mediocrity of the school. Truly elite schools do not perform such inferiority complexes in front of all and sundry.
  • Valedictorian or not, 22-year-olds rarely say anything worth hearing in their speeches.
  • At least the keynote speaker is a better choice than last year's. Pretty bizarre choice, though.
  • Speaker praises the graduates as the most tech-savvy generation ever. Apparently no one mentioned to hir that most of my students could not figure out how to download a PDF from the library reserves.
  • Clear bonus, though: unseasonably cool day for May. For a change, I'm relatively comfortable wearing my regalia, even if my hands are a little cold.
  • Those beautiful shoes I ordered were too tight. Naturally, I cannot order them in a wider size from the store that sold them to me on sale, so I had to return them after admiring them on my feet, even as they shut off the blood flow to my feet. The moral if the story is probably that I shouldn't bother trying to buy dress shoes in Cornstate.
  • But hey, I won't be here much longer, so no worries!
  • Is it normal that CBU has a keynote speaker distinct from the honorary degree recipients? Not that it's a bad thing, but it strikes me as a bit odd.  Fortunately, all the honorees were short and pithy of words, so we're none the worse for it.
  • These folding chairs are desperately lacking in lower back support. We're only up to the Es in the graduate roll call, and I could already use a massage.
  • I am getting sleepy now. Need coffee. Up to the Js now.
  • What's with the graduates tossing around beach balls during the whole affair? Must everything be reduced to a frat party? (As the speaker hirself cannily noted, a lot of the graduates are pretty hungover today.)
  • Up the Ss now. My feet are cold and I'm hungry.
  • Finally, all graduating students named!  Now, unfortunately, come the pompous self-congratulatory administrative speakers. Jeez, how many of those are on the roster?
  • Hitting up the fresh graduates for alumni contributions from the stage. Very classy, alumni association douche.
  • One more song, and then we are...
  • DONE! Off to the wine and cheese!


  1. I remember from my year at Colgate University that the recessional was a bagpipe rendition of "The Minstrel Boy."

  2. The best way to spend graduation is with a little friendly contest among your colleagues. We were in line waiting (FOREVER) for the march across campus, and we decided that we'd each choose a word and keep track of how many times it was uttered in the ceremony. Some of the words included achievement, holiness (from a Theology prof, of course), leadership (or other forms of the word leader -- that was mine), goals, etc. I counted 14 uses of the word leader/leadership, and handily won the contest. We thought next year we might make a bingo card.

    Our speaker's speech was terrible. It was all about her own life/career/tragedies and was not inspirational or useful to anyone but her. Ye gads it was a long ceremony!