Commencement Speeches at Graduation Events
It was two hours long, It had seven speakers before the graduation ceremony began handing out the hard earned degrees. At least it was air conditioned inside the huge U.C. Davis auditorium to shelter hundreds from 100F heat. The band played and the excitement of seeing a loved one graduate turned to impatience and then dread.
The opening was interesting, seeing all the 'Harry Potter-like" robes on the grads and their mentors, There was a medieval aspect to it, as they all walking in a progression and were seated.
For the first hour, the event's speakers told stories of their lives, about their goals, about the world, about food problems, stories from Greek theology and bad audio reproduction. Luckily, I had brought a book. Sometimes, the speaker would use the standard lines that all commencement speeches do about how this is their time, they are just beginning, how they will change the world, how great they are and the long road up to this point. I get it, it is an inspirational time, but the speakers lacked originality and had probably given the same spiel many times before (they day we went, there were two ceremonies- one at 0900 and 1400 hrs.). I think speakers should have also included reality checks, as in, these grads are no more special than others before them, many will fail or never use their degrees because of personal or economic problems, education is fine but experience is king in real world jobs many times and don't let it go to your head - many people with far less education can teach you lessons. Most speakers avoid these realities.
The commencement sounded like my own years back, yet none of the inspiration about my future then, happened. If a poll was taken, I am sure most would agree that the ceremony could have been done in an hour. How about a cut to chase event? A short speech by one person, hand out the degrees and be done with it.
The worse thing about the speakers, and many had the same opinion, they seemed to brag about themselves and accomplishments. Then, everyone of them did some plug or advert for the campus and urged the new grads (some 500) to continue to support and donate to school longer after years have passed. Well, the UC system is expensive to run and California has been making deep financial cuts to balance its own books, so I guess that is why. It just seem cheesy.
After an hour of this drab, each grad was called up. So, for the next hour, rows and rows, names and names were announced in an endless blur. Each family in the stands and their grad each had "their" second of recognition and burst of support. Because the auditorium was huge, one could barely make a loved on out unless there was some identifying item (red shoes, yellow shoes, some marking on their grad cap) they all looked the same.
Then, it was over! Hallelujah!