convo: my experience.
At the last minute I chose to go for my graduation ceremony.
Regardless of my considerations that it is a waste of time, and I don’t favor being in a crowd wearing three layers of clothes under the hot afternoon sun, I just decided to go.
I’ve decided to play it as another step in the game of life. My purpose was nothing huge; I just wanted to try it on, and observe the experience. It might be as breathtaking as what others felt, or I might feel the opposite- but it doesn’t matter. I am responsible of what I would feel because I chose to go for it.
I was really grateful for a friend who sacrificed to wake up early on a Sunday to have myself dressed up neatly for the occasion. Regardless that he is so much into convocations, waking up at half past six on a weekend is next to impossible to do. He was my stylist and also my photographer for the whole session.
Things went well. I remained calm when I was in line, and entered the hall with a weird but good feeling as I listened to the soft sound of gamelan being played.
I disliked the long waiting anyway. I did not eat breakfast and I was really hungry and bored. After that, they played a very audio challenging recording of a military band when the Pro Chancellor entered with other VIPs. The song was so bad, it’s out of tune. One of the ugliest brass bands I’ve ever heard. What a shame to an established university. Can’t they find anything better?
As we were getting restless by the long speech of the Pro Chancellor, I was entertained by the jokes made by the Chinese guy behind me. He could spot that the Pro Chancellor literally said “TAKNIAH” to us all.
And then while the Pro Chancellor took a breath before the next sentence, quickly the guy behind me said “Wabillahitaufik walhidayah…”
That even made the Malay girl beside me giggled. And we all don’t even know each other.
At last, after two hours of people walking up the stage, it was my turn.
I recalled all the things being said by my working friends.
You’ll be feeling full of spirit and pride.
You’ll be thinking, okay now you’ve got a scroll. How about another scroll for Masters.
You’ll be overwhelmed and you feel overjoyed.
Not all of the above.
I was busy handling with stage fright.
Of course I felt happy light-light, but I was thinking more about-
Oh my gawd, there are lecturers in a row sitting on my right side on the stage.
Oh dear, on the left are the audience watching me catwalking in an oversized tent robe.
I maintained myself by walking stiff- a habit I am good at while listening to my walkman and walk straight without looking at anybody. It’s what my friends said as “Jalan menonong”.
But it wasn’t really bad.
We were also entertained with patriotic songs during the intervals, and everybody was waving their scrolls (of course we did not get small flags on the stage, right?), and we sang along and shouted at the parts that we know.
And finally, the Pro Cancellor announced that the Convocation 2007 is closed. That’s cool, because only the last session would witness that. Along with cheers from the rest of the whole hall.
The VIPs then walked out along with the playback of an Elgar-ish march song. It’s way much much much better than the song being played when they entered the hall.
Exactly as what I expected, I felt like steamed fish or boiled fish balls or baked banana cake when we walked out of the hall. I was sweating like mad. But I decided to give up having that so significant, and live with it. I could bear with it actually, along with the whole crowd.
So I’ve taken pictures, and I’ve collected the pictures they shot for me on the stage. I didn’t bother to take studio photos though- they marked up the price to 200 bucks. Like, what the?
I decided to do my OWN studio photo, by applying my astounding Photoshop skills. The result- wah, not bad. I didn’t manage to get a library painting background, but I replaced that with a blue gradient canvas-ish background that I created on my own. I can just print that at a digital photo shop for one ringgit each. Cool huh?
My mom, aunt and brother came, a few friends came too; and dear dear Z came last as a sweet closing for the whole thing.
Thanks, y’all, to both who came and both who didn’t- because after all you guys are part of my life no matter what.
I have discovered that when I try so much to make myself apart from my own graduation, there’s an overall impact of it. At the surface I might seem not wanting to celebrate, but if I really skipped the ceremony, I am considered as not respecting the whole university institution. Especially when all procedures are being done meticulously by the hardworking staff of the university- from the smart touch card, to the robe rental, to the parents invitation card, and to the preparation of one whole week of convocation.
That’s the biggest reason I felt grateful that I put myself to attend instead of being absent. Since all have already collaborated for the success of the big event, I am happy that I contributed by just being present.