Let’s Put the “Fun” Back in Graduation

There was a time, I believe, when graduations really meant something. This was way back when not everyone finished high school, most people didn’t go to college and hardly anyone contemplated grad school. Some old, white guy like Eisenhower was President.

My, how time has changed.

I graduated from high school a couple years ago and a couple years from now I’ll graduate from college. Shortly after that I will probably graduate from grad school. This is my destiny and has been written out for me since my birth. There was no doubt I would finish high school and college and the odds are strongly in my favor that I finish grad school as well. There was no suspense to these occasions. As a result, they felt/will feel pretty unremarkable.

Of course, my high school graduation was celebrated, as my college graduation will be. Keynote speakers will use tired cliches. Names will be mispronounced. Mothers will cry. It doesn’t matter. It still won’t feel momentous. They might as well have handed my diplomas as I was leaving the womb.

I’m not alone in this preordainment of degrees. There are thousands other like me. They all mostly live in the affluent suburbs of the north shore. So, to remedy this problem, I have come up with an idea to save my graduations and the graduations of my ilk.

Rather than simply hand out diplomas to all deserving students, (boring) we will flip a coin. As each person’s name is read aloud and they stride towards the front of the stage, a designated coin flipper will toss a coin into the air. One side of the coin will be covered with a diploma. If this side lands up, the individual will have successfully graduated from high school/college/whatever. However, if the coin lands on the opposite side (it will probably be decorated with a guy shrugging, or something) then that person will have to repeat the final year of studies and try again next year.

You do NOT want to see this guy on your graduation.

Unnecessarily cruel? Maybe. But, there is no denying that this would make graduations more exciting and meaningful. After graduating from high school, I didn’t really feel anything. I knew it was going to happen. I imagine I will feel the same way once I graduate from college. However, if I walked across the stage knowing that there was a fifty percent chance I would have to redo an entire year of work, I would have been ecstatic after successfully graduating. I would have been overcome with emotion.

Unfortunately, I did not come up with this idea until recently. I was already deprived of an interesting high school graduation and I fear that our nation’s colleges will move to slowly to implement this policy before I finish. So, please America, move quickly. Make my life at least a little exciting.


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February 2010
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