At long last, it’s time for my convocation. Don’t get me wrong, my time here at McMaster has been amazing. I have met people I’ll never forget, taken courses that have changed my perspective, and been exposed to a number of opportunities that many students may not have the chance to see for themselves. But after four years of late nights studying, stressful assignment planning, and working to develop a healthy relationship with caffeine, my time as a student has come to an end, and I couldn’t be more ready.
I’ve been anticipating my graduation for a long time, so when I finally got notice of the date, time, and location of the event, I was thrilled to mark it on my calendar and share the details with my friends and family. But this excitement was weighed down with anxiety and disappointment when I found out the details of the ceremony and realized this convocation would not necessarily be the most enjoyable experience for my guests or myself.
As a student of the arts, I have become well acquainted with disappointment. During the four years of my undergraduate studies I eventually grew accustomed to unfortunate situations like helpful and competent professors being let go due to insufficient funds, workspaces lacking in updated equipment and programs, and sessional professors leaving before getting the chance to get to know them, ask them questions, or even consider them for future references. It was one last blow to my Bachelor of Arts to find out that 500 hundred students would be crammed into one ceremony lasting around four hours, a number of students would not be allotted their requested number of tickets, and at the end of the day, my fellow B.A. recipients and I would not be given the ceremony we worked towards and deserved.
This past week I had the pleasure of attending a graduation ceremony in the States. I had my own bias about what it would be like before arriving, imagining an uppity and almost inaccessible ceremony. Much to my surprise, it was close to the opposite. The ceremony was short and concise, the groups of students had been separated into their programs to allow them to acknowledge their major and area of expertise, and the ceremony was divided into multiple days, so as not to drag on for too many hours. I was excited to be present, but I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy, wishing myself and my classmates could experience something similar.
While we’re lucky to even have the opportunity for a graduation ceremony, convocation is meant to be something students look forward to and not dread. Just because students come from a larger faculty, it does not mean their efforts should be treated as less important and granted the unfortunate experience of a haphazard ceremony.