John Marsden Writing Topic #360

Take a significant event in your life and write about it**

Graduation Day

On Monday 15 December 2014, a day that I had been waiting for, for a long time finally arrived–my graduation day.

After five years of hard work, personal and professional sacrifices, finding and losing love and other ups-and-downs, I finally got there. My graduation day wasn’t as overwhelming or emotional as I thought it would be, which isn’t a bad or a good thing, I’m just not sure what to make of it. My parents and brother came up for the big day, like always they love and support me unconditionally.

My day started at 8.15am when I had to be at uni to register and pick up my academic dress (robe, faculty ribbon attached to the robe and mortarboard). The robe was nice and loose, but the mortarboard was the big issue—it took five minutes to find the right size, they were either too big or too small, but I eventually got there.

I had about 45 minutes to kill after registering and before I had to be in the Hall where the ceremony was being held. In that time, my parents made sure to get plenty of photos. I eventually made my way into the hall where happily some of my other journalism classmates were sitting with me in the same row. The ceremony kicked off with a request for everyone to turn off their phones or put them on silent—about 20 phones went off during the ceremony, which annoyed me to no end.  Most of them were there for their own childrens’ graduation and other parents and family members want to enjoy it too, the decent thing to do if you don’t want to turn your phone off is put it on silent.

As with any ceremony like this, there were formalities such as presentations and speeches. It took about ten rows of fellow graduates to go through before it was my turn. There were three ushers—one to tick my name off the list, one to tick my name off another list and adjust my academic wear and another to tell me when to go on stage. I finally got my degrees, which I had long been waiting for in a blue binder with my academic transcript from the Vice Chancellor, who asked me what my plans were and whether I was going on to postgrad or if I had a job. I told him that I was working to keep out of trouble and keep my parents proud.

After collecting my degrees and transcript, which I struggled getting into my hands, I walked down the wrong staircase and back to my seat. The girl sitting next to me, Alyce had her own phone with her and was telling me about the Sydney Siege, which began at the same time as the ceremony started.

After the ceremony ended, I walked out with the other graduates to find people standing outside clapping, that’s when it hit me and I shed a tear for the biggest and most life-changing chapter of my life coming to an end right there and then.

After the ceremony, I had professional photographs taken with my family and my degrees framed. I then went out to my lunch and spent the rest of the day with my family.

My only advice for anyone graduating next year is to enjoy your graduation ceremony. It is the celebration of years of hard work and you will never get the day back.

Celebrate and congratulations!


**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.





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