Graduation memories, I might have a few:
Elementary Graduation. The impact of our homeroom adviser's lethally big-time revenge on one of our classmates is something I don't think I will ever forget. I was about 12 then and I observed our teacher was having personal and professional issues with the school board. Once in a class meeting I remember him saying, "and then some of you will report me to your father, aunt and grandfather..." Three of my classmates had family elders who sat in the school board. The one whose got her father in the board, J was terribly spoiled in class. She treated our teacher with utter disrespect, you would think our teacher was a wimp. She led the class in all sorts of meanness, defiance of authority, and trouble-making; and mind you, she was also the class president. I silently felt sorry for our teacher. I was a transferee and seething at my fate, thinking how unfair it was to be a member of a graduating class whose president behaved like a wretched hag on her best day.
Graduation came; and with it the announcing of those who would go up on stage to receive their awards. I was beginning to feel ok when even the classmate who was bottom of the class got a ribbon for some good deed demonstrated throughout the school year. And then we started exchanging glances. What could J's award be... maybe she was getting the highest award of all. But our teacher calmly folded his list, gazed down on us and concluded, "Congratulations! Parents, friends and guests, shall we give our graduates a big hand..." J slumped on her chair like an empty sack. Her legs splayed on the floor we thought she was going to have a fit. But she dared not make a scene in front of all those people. What made it memorable to me was not the discomfort we all felt at what happened. Maybe it was not revenge on our teacher's part. I like to think it was a subtle execution of a punishment long overdue. For the record, J's my cousin and I hope the humiliation did her some good. It was the final lesson I learned from that academic rung: Never underestimate a teacher's power.
On a lighter note, our graduation speaker later turned out to be my suitor's mom :)
Highschool Graduation. You probably remember the now defunct NCEE? (National College Entrance Examination) That was a hullabaloo surrounding Philippine high school graduations. There was always the thrill of being one of those in the top 10. I was truant in high school. Difficult subjects didn't motivate me and the only thing I cared about was to pass and move on to wherever my parents were sending me next. But when that NCEE medal was hung on my neck, it felt great. My crush (elementary graduation speaker's son didn't know I had a crush on him) who was videotaping the ceremony shook my hand as I made my way back to my seat from the stage. Heaven! Teen crush felt a lot more fantastic than all the NCEE medals in the world hahahah... Silly but it's nice to reminisce:)
College Graduation. Nothing much, except that I was head over heels in love with a guy who weeks later vanished into the blue and years later rang me halfway around the world to apologize for treating me like shit. This is mental, lol.... Oh, I remember the college orchestra playing Pomp and Circumstance as we marched down the aisle and the CMU president remarking in jest: "Here graduates are pampered. Look at how slow you march, you're really enjoying every minute. In CMU, graduates do not march. They do a walkathon because we want to get rid of them as fast as we can."
Gradschool Graduation. The picture changed. There were a few hiccups like the parking spot that I rented which got taken by someone else. My son had a tantrum and spilled formula all over his suit. The civil part was the attendance of the ex-husband whom I invited. He financed the study; a fairly recent discipline and a very expensive schooling as lecturers in the international program where I belonged were imported from the US and the UK. I can't hate while I am grateful for something beyond the reach of my poverty-stricken pocket.
Besides that, I found something remarkable during the ceremony. There were thousands of us getting our diplomas that day. Private cameras were not allowed inside Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. What's amazing was the way we were made to go up on stage in perfect order, and how the cameras captured every graduate as his/her name was called. It was pure military precision and I was impressed. Then we swore in front of an image of the Thai King. I had no idea what it was but a co-graduate translated the oath for me. I understood that we swore to use our knowledge and practise our profession with always the country in mind, and that no matter how challenging things get, we will continually contribute to the development of the nation and the growth of the economy.
I like the "always-the-country-in-mind" bit. That must be one of the secrets why the Thai economy is not really that behind in Southeast Asia.