I was going to go to WCC commencement tomorrow, but I forgot to buy a cap and gown, and don’t know where I can get the right ones in the appropriate color. It is probably black, but I would be embarrassed to show up as the only person wearing navy blue or something. Anyway, I don’t particularly mind. Originally, I felt I ought to go, just in case I regretted it later. I mean, you only graduate once, right?
Well, not really. The degree I am supposed to be awarded (which I won’t actually have earned till the end of the summer semester) is an associates in general studies. As the pinnacle of my educational career to date, it is hardly something I would readily boast of. What does a degree in “General Studies” mean, anyway? Even capitalization doesn’t add much grandeur to it. All I can think when I look at is is, “Gee, I’ve been hanging around here for a while.”
Don’t misunderstand, it isn’t that I am ungrateful. Washtenaw has been good to me, and if anything, I kind of felt I ought to attend commencement as to honor their institution. I have, for the most part, enjoyed their classes, their instructors, and their coffee. But I haven’t been particularly challenged, and so graduating is no particular achievement on my part. Really, it’s just a reminder that it’s time I moved on.
Trouble is, I don’t have anywhere to go to yet.
So maybe that’s the other part of why I wanted to go to commencement. Maybe, I’m afraid it will be the only college graduation I ever get. Honestly, that thought kind of terrifies me. Right at this moment, I have a lot of grand ambitions, and a fair number of them begin with some sort of truly challenging academic environment. So long as I get in somewhere, I will be content. But as long as I’m preparing for another year of In-Between, I’d like to feel like my associates degree isn’t something I’ve settled for.
It is a landmark, certainly. When I get it, I will be glad. But it’s no place to stop and rest. I’d like to think of it as a stepping stone, or a spring board. Like, “something underground’s gonna come up and carry me.”
Moving forward, onward ho, land off the starboard prow. Or something.