About a month ago, a coworker and I were talking at lunch. Like many people, she asked me if I was planning on attending the graduation ceremonies at Southern Connecticut. I told her that I wasn’t – a decision that I made even before I entered the program. This coworker had gone to graduate school and did not attend her graduation. She commented that she often thought she should have attended. I did not think too much about this conversation and about my own feelings about the subject until the last week or so.
I finished my school work a couple of weeks ago. I am now waiting anxiously for grades to be posted. I don’t really think there is much chance that I did not pass the class or that I won’t have completed all of my requirements in order to graduate this month. However, I have been thinking about the ritual of graduation, and the natural closure that it provides to one’s educational experience. Graduation ceremonies for the graduate school at SCSU are being held on May 22nd. And, I think that I am a bit sad that I never even considered going.
Because I attended SCSU as a distance student, I have never felt any type of realistic connection to the school. I have developed online relationships with professors, students, librarians and employees. But all of this was done through either email or the WebCT online classroom. However, without any type of of physical orientation or formal graduation ceremony, I never had any formal starting or ending points to my education. I do not feel as I am finished. I do not feel that sense of accomplishment that I remember from both my college and high school graduations. Additionally, I think that graduation would have allowed me the opportunity to meet fellow students and some of the professors.
As a rule, I don’t believe in the concept of regret, but I do believe that I am missing something important by not attending the graduation ceremonies. A lesson learned.