I am remembering last June.
One sunny afternoon, I am interrupted by a very rapid, almost urgent knocking on my door. I open the door and there is a very tall, very slender young man in well-pressed but loose trousers and shiny new brown brogues. Whatever he is wearing to finish off this smart outfit is obscured by a bright blue, capacious gown that he struggles to keep on his shoulders. It is slipping off as he bounces excitedly in front of my door.
As soon as he sees me, he twirls around and the bright blur mortar board he is wearing falls off his head. Before it can hit the floor, he grabs it by the tassel, which immediately falls off.
“Oh sh_t! I’ll probably have to buy this if I break it.”
He stops dramatically and shouts, “But then I’d get to keep it! That would be awesome!”
He hands me the hat and tassel and whirls around again.
“Dr. Beck, look at me! I’m graduating!”
I’m just staring because, well, I can’t get a word in.
“I’ve just got time to show you my outfit because the ceremony starts in half an hour and my grandpa’s frantic that I might miss it.”
Moments like this are the best events that happen in my practice but, more importantly, they are some of the best memories of a teenager’s life. It seems sad that so many youth this year are missing their graduations. The public ceremony in which the achievement of every graduate is recognized are good for everyone: the graduate, their family, their teachers, all the dignitaries. At graduations, the entire educational system that qualifies an individual and credentials them recognizes achievement and honours it. Graduations are a tangible reminder of our value and our promise.
In the time when I finished high school, it was usual to hold graduations in October of the year after you had completed your studies. The reason was that, before you graduated, you had to complete Senior Matriculation Examinations.
I have been thinking it would be great if we could do that this year – postpone graduations instead of cancelling them.
Why miss all that celebration in a time when we most need it?
(This is an image from my daughter’s graduation.)