What is it about a graduation that inspires so much emotions? There is the feeling of freedom, excitement, and relief that the students feel. Whereas parents are full of a mix of sadness, pride, and reflection. The fact that everyone can relate makes a graduation ceremony a special time. Young students look forward to the moment when they can toss their cap and be free of school. The graduates themselves are in the midst of the event, and parents and family members remember their own graduation.
Graduates look forward with trepidation and excitement to the new road set before them. They are like the traveler mentioned by Robert Frost in The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
They eagerly wonder what will it be like. Will their dreams come true? Where will they be in two, five, ten, even twenty years from now? They long for the freedom that is granted to them when they graduate. They are seen now as an adult–or almost. They get a new set of responsibilities and with it the ability to choose their own way. Which road will they select?
Parents, however, see the accomplishment. They know the work that went into the years of raising these children from baby, to toddler, to elementary age, to teenager. They see the potential stretched out before their child and long for him or her to make the right choices. Parents also realize that a commencement ceremony is in some ways an ending. No longer will their child sit at the dinner table on a regular basis. The late night chats will give way to facebook chats. The struggles of following the family rules will be exchanged for agonizing over how much money to loan them.
So, a graduation is a time of many emotions. The feelings rage war for a day or two and then life goes on. Years later, many may be able to say with Frost: