Convocation in the Pouring Rain

Milestone events tend to make me more pensive than usual. This year’s convocation was no exception. In this post, I try to capture what the day felt like for me and offer just one of many accounts of the experience. To the graduating class of 2017, particularly to the Science ‘B’ graduates, this is to our collective memory and moving forward.

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The day crept up on me unexpectantly, and for a brief moment, while waiting in Redpath Hall with all the other graduates, I felt like I wasn’t ready to leave. But whether I’m ready or not, this phase of life has already closed. And perhaps the cosmos was echoing my sentiment of change and renewal by sending down the rains.

The saturated air couldn’t hold the rains anymore.

It started to rain just before the ceremony began. Our graduation hoods kept us dry as we paraded from Redpath Hall to the tent on the lower field.

The breeze cooled, and the winds picked up.

There we were, a room full of recent graduates, all of our different lives and directions, accomplishments, and dreams, collected there under a make-shift tent in the pouring rain that grew louder and louder.

The harshness of its chilling breeze is so contrary to the tenderness of its nourishment.

I felt like we were a room full of people busy with the task of becoming something, and maybe becoming something other than ourselves.

I felt odd that all our accomplishments were summarized in a few brief lines on those name cards, and even more strange when I saw that my degree was generalized as just science degree, with no indication of what subject I studied.

We heard one sound of thunder and wished
that the sole meteorology graduate would speak up and bring us some words of comfort.

I caught myself questioning if I had made good choices and if other people had made better choices than I. I caught myself tormenting myself with these questions without answers.

The rain renews and nourishes the earth. It washes away footprints and marks left by heavy things.

I don’t know anything beyond what I know. I guess the statement is a bit redundant, but I think it’s a needed overstatement and clarification. At this point in my life, I know what I’m working towards, but I really can’t see very far into the future.

The rain falls, nourishes the earth, then returns to the skies.

Perhaps it’s time to befriend uncertainty. We live because of the mysteries of life –  they make us alive and keep us moving. The future (and the present!) is so full of possibilities. I see my fears fading as I work on the things that cause me to fear. I remind myself that help has always found me, whether through my own work, my questions, the kindness of others, or good old serendipity.

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