Ahhh yes! Graduation! It is the best feeling to complete 4 (sometimes more, sometimes less!) years of study and finally walk across the stage to receive your diploma! I don’t know which graduation felt more accomplished for me, high school or college? They were both special for different reasons…
Imagine the well of emotions I felt when I attended the graduation of my first cousin at the beginning of the summer. This ceremony was special because I remember precisely when she was born– I was in the hospital room when it happened! (On the other side of the curtain of course, but I heard her first cry all the same!) Eighteen years later after watching her grow into a young adult, I was absolutely honored to be the family’s photographer “covering” her graduation.
Always a lover of the details, I snapped a few photos of the graduate’s sister who was holding the balloons and flowers as we entered the high school football stadium.
My uncle (a golf coach at my cousin’s high school) was able to get me “press clearance” on the field before the commencement! This was a welcome surprise since I was expecting to do all my best photos after the ceremony.
As the procession began, I decided to take a few practice shots of students walking by in preparation for my cousin as she walked by my uncle and me. These “practice” shots were some of my favorite of the ceremony! I was able to capture the raw excitement (and nervousness!) on the graduates’ faces as they walked excitedly to the beginning of the rest of their lives. What an awesome feeling!
The feeling of accomplishment was palpable and threw me back ten years to my own high school graduation. It reinvigorated me, reminding me of the feeling of having the rest of your life before you to craft as you wish. I realized that I don’t have to be 18 and graduating from high school or 22 and graduating from college to have this feeling. Ceremonial events like these are only the beginning of a lifetime of achievements, constructive failures, and varying successes.
To me, these photos have a dual significance: the commemoration of a special moment in the life of someone I love, and a reminder that sometimes pomp and circumstance can be simple and inspiring. Everyday the future is before us, and every day we can start anew.
So even without the cap and gown, the crowds and cheers, without the ceremony and celebration, can I, too, graduate?
The title of this blog post was borrowed from the lyrics of the Third Eye Blind song, “Graduate” from the self-titled album, Third Eye Blind (1997).