Graduation Day

Today my daughter graduates from high school.  While a mere high school education is something many sneer at these day, it is still the culmination of a lot of work.  It is rightly a proud moment for both parent and child.

Her mortarboard decorated

And my daughter has done more than just get through high school.  She was very involved on campus, took hard classes, volunteered, and even took a zero period class her junior year, which involved getting up earlier than most teens can manage.  I would have never done that in high school.

Come the end of summer she will be off to college.  A transition in life for all of us.

A simple and common suburban story.  But we live in interesting times.

A pandemic, a crumbling economy, the worst unemployment since the great depression, and protests against injustice and police brutality against African Americans… all of which have been made manifestly worse for every American by an obscenely narcissistic president whose calculations are only ever based on what he can do in a given moment to benefit himself… means that normalcy isn’t a thing even out in the suburbs.

We are under both stay at home orders due to the pandemic and a curfew due to protests.  Social distancing requirements mean that there will be no traditional graduation ceremony nor any sort of grad night party.  We will be having a drive through graduation instead.  Students have a time slot when their family can drive up.  Students will hop out of the car, get their diploma, have their picture taken on the set where this will take place, then get back in their car and drive off.  The pictures will be assembled into a video with music and narration that will be posted in a couple of weeks so relatives can see the ceremony.

Not the big event she was expecting back at the start of her senior year.  She is disappointed.

The future is uncertain as well.  The college she will be attending has been saying that there will be classes as normal come the fall semester, that students will live on campus and, while some precautions will be necessary, things will be mostly normal.  But they haven’t committed to that wholeheartedly yet and a lot of other schools… like the whole California State University system, with 23 campuses and nearly half a million students (not to be confused with the University of California system and its 10 campuses and quarter million students)… have already declared that come the fall some or all learning will be remote.  So we are still waiting on that.

And yet we know we are better off than many.  I still have my job.  The bills are still getting paid.  My wife, a real estate agent, managed to close a deal during the pandemic, which is a key part of the whole “paying for college” plan.  We’re still healthy as is our extended family.

Things are still pretty good, all things considered.  So we’re thankful for that.

14 thoughts on “Graduation Day

  1. selfishpaladin

    Congrats to your daughter and hopeful she will l look back in a decade or two and remember this as the most chaotic time of her life that set her up to be able to manage anything that comes her way. One could argue she might come out of college with a better real world education than most because of the times. I graduated in June of 2001 and I would have loved to have been listening to college voice discuss things those next 6 months rather than on a silent metro train into Atlanta each day of that September.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Masked Gamer Gal

    I’m sorry about the circumstances regarding the graduation, but sincere congrats to your daughter and working hard consistently towards her senior year. Also, nothing but good well-wishing towards your family as we continue to march towards the future.

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  3. bhagpuss

    Grats to your daughter. I think graduating high school always had a much greater significance in the U.S. than it does over here, although it’s become a much bigger thing in the U.K. than it ever was when I was at school. University graduation is still a bigger deal over here, though – at least I think it is. Let’s hope things have settled down enough by the time that big day comes that she’s able to enjoy it to the full.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Telwyn

    Congrats to your daughter, nice to read something positive. I too have relatives that are facing uncretain university careers in these times. At least technology makes remote learning a possibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anypo8

    Grats to your daughter and to you! You should both be proud of this achievement, in which I’m sure you played no small part.

    As a uni prof, I expect we’ll still be teaching remotely in the Fall. Honestly it’s not all that bad for the students, I think? It will be an unusual start for new students, of course, but remote teaching has made me able to be a bit more responsive to my students — it’s way easier to stay in touch with all of them when they’re all on chat, and it’s way easier to field questions in class when it is unnecessary to interrupt the class to ask them.

    And of course, this too shall pass. I expect that by Spring they’ll have enough testing and tracking fielded even in the isolated US that everyone will be fully back on campus.

    Stay safe!

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  6. Eli Olsen

    Congratulations to your daughter and you, and my condolences for the lack of a normal graduation celebration.

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  7. Archey

    Congrats to your daughter on her achievement and good luck to all of you as big life changes come your way.

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  8. SynCaine

    Huge congrats! I still remember reading posts here about how she was finally old enough to hold a controller, now so many years ago. I’ll also echo that while HS graduation was important, college felt much bigger, especially for anyone going to college after HS since its just a transition to ‘more school’, while the end of college is when school stops and ‘real life’ starts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Redbeard

    Congrats to her and the whole family!

    No small amount of effort there to drag everybody across the finish line.

    As for the fall, the mini-Red who is most unsure about how things will work out is our youngest, who will be a HS senior this coming school year. We already know the school year format for our middle kid, and we’re waiting to see on the format for the oldest mini-Red’s senior year of college. Both of the older two go to small liberal arts colleges, so unlike the bigger state universities there’s less herding of cats into big lecture halls. Therefore, they can pull off the bringing everyone back to campus trick. But a university the size of Ohio State, Cincinnati, or even a Murray State (Kentucky)? No idea if they can even pull off having students on campus for the fall.

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  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Thanks for all the the kind words. Drive though graduation went pretty well. (It was 100 degrees out so it was probably better than sitting out on the big field for three hours in the hot afternoon sun.) We even rented a special ride to do our drive through.

    @anypo8 – You do start getting into “what am I really paying for?” when it all goes remote though. My first year in college ran less than $1,000. Checking on my alma mater, an academic year runs about $25K. That is the in-state resident price for a CSU campus. I am going to guess that professors are not making 25x what they were making in 1983, so I guess it is labs and on campus resources… or administration inflation.

    But if everybody stays home… well, you don’t have to pay the additional $15-20K to live on campus, but you don’t get the benefits of being on campus either. It feels like if this goes on for more than an academic year… 2020 so far has not made me an optimist… there is going to have to be some sort of shakeout in how college works. Maybe CSU will work out a perm remote campus plan. Or maybe inertia will keep things going the way they have been because students are only there for a few years.

    (My daughter is actually going to a private school which, list price, should be much more expensive than a CSU with the in-state resident discount, but thanks to a scholarship and some discounting, it ends up being cheaper.)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. evehermit

    Congrats and respect to your daughter and family. Like SynCaine, I can remember various posts you have made about your daughter and your relationship with her. I am quite sure it is impossible that she is old enough to be going to College. I suggest you check her birth certificate or something. I hope she gets to spend most of her College life on campus. You can certainly successfully learn “stuff” remotely, but you learn more about life surrounded by others.

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