Graduation is Torture

I mentioned last time that my wife had her PhD graduation ceremony on Monday. I wanted to go, but only because that thing took 8 years to finish, and something that significant deserves some kind of recognition, a ritual for closure’s sake. But the ceremony itself was torture.  And I mean literal torture. My sister-in-law thought so too.

They have nuclear families covered (3 free tickets per grad-2 parents, 1 sibling ), but partners? 3rd (or second set) of parents? extra siblings? Nope. You had to line up 2.5 hours in advance to ensure getting a ticket, then wait around 2 hours until the procession starts. That takes 45 minutes, then with all the speeches, the shaking of hands, the selfies, and the clowning (really do people think they’re in 80s movies?) there’s another 2 hours in an over-heated room, on uncomfortable seats. The whole time, a stream of tweets parading down the screen at the front (and duplicated strategically around the room) of proud parents, siblings, and friends, followed later by embarrassing baby pictures and “deep thoughts.” You couldn’t even take photos – the light being too dark, and the stage too far, and the screen too… something. This, of course, was because of the merch table with all the goodies after the show.

A long time ago, I snuck out of my own graduation – because I had the option – and spent a wonderful afternoon outside smoking (I still smoked) and reading a book. It was also much MUCH cooler outside than in. I had to wait around for my mother (inside watching everybody else get their degrees). I avoided the bother with subsequent ceremonies – my mother was dead, and I value my certificates only slightly more than toilet paper. I honestly don’t know why anyone who doesn’t love ritual would care to sit through one, or worse, oblige someone they care about to sit through one. They’re BORING.

In fact, the only exciting graduation I can think of was the season 3 of Buffy finale. Are there other horror stories set at graduation? I can’t think of any (I checked, and there’s this, at least. Prom night is a known setting (with the Prom Night series, Carrie, Cabin Fever, and an episode of Buffy. So that’s what I’d like to know. Can any of you think of any interesting horror stories – books, movies, TV series, web-comics – with more than an anecdotal reference to graduation? Please comment with any suggestions.

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