I was walking along UN Avenue and passed by Philam Building. I noticed at once a crowd of eager beaver graduating students, with their loved ones around them, checking every so often whether everything is all right insofar as the "star" of the day's hairdo, make up and attire are concerned. Most of them were overly made up, others were wearing formal cocktail dresses, even though it was 12 noon and the scorching heat of the sun was piercing through everyone's skin. Parents are like mother hens who obviously dote on their graduating child, looking at them as a living trophy of achievement for them.
My own college graduation was of not much significance to my young mind then. All I had in mind at that time was how my first day at work would be like. A day after I graduated, I started working in one of the offices in Makati. I was very proud to be officially called then a "working girl" and in Makati at that. During my graduation, my mother forgot to engage a professional photographer to take my picture, so she bravely climbed the steel railings of the PUP gymnasium and took a photo, using an instamatic camera. Imagine my shock when right after I shook the hands of the University's President, i looked at the crowd and saw my mother waving at me, perched in one of the gym's steel beams (try to imagine that). To this day, I still can't forget the risk that my mother took, just to get my photo, which turned out bad because the arms of the University's President hid my face while he was putting on me my medal for graduating Cum Laude (ehem, ehem). Nevertheless, she sent that photo to my father who was then working in a cargo ship far into the Atlantic Ocean.
There were three classmates who did not join the batch of graduates then. One became pregnant way too early and she didn't want to go up the stage with a bulging stomach. The two others didn't pass one subject - Philosophy. In that class, we didn't have names - instead we were called by our "numbers". I still remember our Professor announcing to everyone that those whose numbers he will announce should stay in the room, while the rest of the "numbers" can go out and finally have fun, after one gruelling semester with him. About half of the class stayed in the room and were given another shot, a most critical one. Two failed.
Which makes me think of the sad fact that some professors, even though they know that their subjects are not major ones, choose to make things more difficult for graduating students. They act as if they hold the future of these students in their hands. Which, in principle, is correct. A failing grade would set back the student's dreams for another semester, and definitely puts more pressure on parents, who have been praying for deliverance from the seemingly endless expenses incurred when sending a child to school. These difficult professors do not realize the fact that they have greatly affected the future of these students, and most probably their outlook in life.
Ever heard of the poem "Three"?
I think that I shall never see,
A grade as lovely as a “three”,
A three that’s earned by blood and sweat
When failing is a serious threat,
A three that I’ve asked from God all day,
Knowing that praying is the only way,
Exams are taken by fools like me,
but only God can give a “three”.
I believe the above poem simply states the truth - better to get 3.0 and pass, than not to pass at all.
This graduation time, I sincerely hope that these graduates would find a more fruitful life after school, let them join the taxpaying workforce that are the true jewels of our nation. They may become cynical of a "worker's life" in due time, but then, that's where the wheels of life lead us. After repeatedly encountering setbacks in looking for that elusive "perfect job", at least they get to gain experience and wisdom in knowing that true happiness lies in accepting what you actually have for now - a job that pays you on time. It is in the learning through life's experiences, in the contrasts of good and bad, happy and sad, up and down, that we grow. It is through these things that we gain understanding of how we should live life.
College graduation only happens once in a lifetime. Grab and savor the moment, but don't forget to equip yourself with enough faith to know that equivalent to this special moment are many heartaches, frustrations and trials, and they don't come in three's only. They oftentimes come in numbers that you can more than handle.
In the process, may we learn to trust God more. He will help us realize that He cannot, and will not stop us from experiencing life, but He assures us that He will be with us throughout our journey. He will be our strength when we are weak, and our courage when we are afraid. Perhaps that is why during graduation, many believe that the tradition of throwing the cap to the air means that graduates are supposed to let God take over. A new beginning, a new chapter, a new story - and the pages of the book are still blank, it's for the graduate to write whatever she wants to write, the pen is already in her hands. Congratulations graduates! Be good.