Reflecting back on a convocation ceremony I didn’t attend
Mike Reynolds, Communications Officer for the MacOdrum Library.
What I remember most about my convocation ceremony at Carleton what seems like 50 years ago is that I didn’t attend my convocation ceremony at Carleton what seems like 50 years ago.
I had finished my degree after taking a few years off of school and at the time, with a job and the budding of a young family, it didn’t seem as important to attend as it should have. What seems like 50 years later, I wish I had been in attendance.
I don’t wish I’d been there just because I wanted to hear my honorary degree speaker or because I wanted a piece of the big slab of cake with the Carleton University logo and the picture of a grad gown on it. I wish I’d been there because convocation is a great time to sit down for a couple of hours and reflect on the three, four, five or whatever years it’s taken you to achieve something not everyone achieves.
The room will get hot, on multiple occasions you’ll find yourself looking at your watch (or I suppose these days, your phone) and you’ll scan the crowd of people looking for your family or for the other friends you have who aren’t sitting next to you because of their inconveniently spelled last name starting with an F instead of an R. No matter what though, come the end of that ceremony, people will be taking a picture of you as a Carleton University graduate.
What seems like 50 years ago I passed on the opportunity to get recognized for what was a lot of hard work. I didn’t always study as hard as I should have, I struggled on some of my exams, but I stuck it out and I accomplished something that not everyone does.
I have a degree in English Literature from Carleton University and I’m happy to tell people that now. I hope that when you leave our campus after your ceremony you’ll be able to reflect on what you’ve been able to do here and that you’ll be proud to have attended your ceremony and that you’ll have felt your recognition was appropriate.
I do also hope you eat some of those cupcakes. This is a special day, treat yourself.