Once Keith Alley said we could disrobe I took everything not zipped on to me off. Looking at the goody bad under my seat in the program I noticed that the book I had been working on was mentioned as, “a book written by a group of UC Merced history students,” I am a Cognitive Science major with a writing minor-rude.
The speeches were good. The presence of the First Lady was incredible. It was, however, far too hot, I could not muster any emotions to cry at anything, not even when my good friend Socorra sang that amazing song. Michelle Obama’s speech was very good in keeping it about us, our class. However, I strongly feel that the ceremony as a whole was not completely about us. The senior challenges was not mentioned or even pointed out! The engineer’s LED board was placed on the left side of the stage; I didn’t even notice it until I was walking to receive my diploma. No one mentioned how a grateful donation was given so the every graduate received a free copy of the Fairy Shrimp Chronicles, I could see the confusion in faces when students were handed the book once they left the stage. Hearing the book called a “yearbook” was pretty heartbreaking. I was briefly mentioned for working with Matthew Lyons for the class gift. I strongly believe the right and honor for announcing class gift was earn by myself and Matt, but for some reason the school did not see it like that.
Something that really, just really, killed our ceremony was the rudeness of the people that left right after Michelle Obama’s speech. Nothing spoke more about how our graduation was to honor us than the departure of more than what looked like half the amount of people. It feels great to receive my diploma and look out and see rows and rows of empty seats. It even seemed like the organization was just left hanging after her departure as well. When it was time to receive diplomas people were EVERYWHERE. Not that I didn’t enjoy it- but- my father was able to take pictures right in front while I received my diploma then, he was able to meet me when I got off the stage, hug me tightly, and then walk me back to my seat. There were also very confused faces when people were told to go to the ‘reception’ which was just ice cream popsicles. Several people were still looking for the ‘reception’ while I was walking down Scholars Lane to the car. My flowers were dead when my mom handed them to me, so was a candy lei.
Even with the heat and all the rudeness/craziness, the day was still gratifying. The day in my family’s eyes was still about me. My brother who had dressed himself that morning in khaki slacks and a short sleeve collar shirt was now wearing UCM basketball shorts and a Michelle Obama t-shirt with rolled up sleeves. This day may have not been quiet as honoring as it should have been towards the achievements-besides bringing Michelle Obama- of the Class of 2009, but my family took care of that. And I’m sure so did the rest of parent’s of the class of 2009, because they were the ones that were proud of UC Merced and had bobcat spit since the day the acceptance letters came in the mail. So thank you parents, for picking up the bill, getting terribly sunburnt, and cutting out every newspaper article that mentions UC Merced for our scrapbook albums, more than anything, you made this all possible.