For those of you who do attend graduation, or Final Exercises as they are known at UVA, be prepared for the masses of people (see picture on right). Some good tips:
- When trying to get on the Lawn for the morning speeches, get on line on the side of the Rotunda that faces the Hospital, and not the side that faces the Chapel. Everyone and their mother will be trying to squeeze into the Lawn and one side will have a longer line than the other. That side will be the one facing the Chapel.
- If you're going to eat out during graduation weekend, reserve your spot. Eat on the Corner for dinner on the day of Final Exercises because most people will want to eat in fancier restaurants Downtown. However if need be, then reserve ahead.
- Parking is a premium. Avoid driving.
- Bring an umbrella. If it rains, as it has done for the past three graduations, then you have an umbrella. If it is sunny, then you have shade. Umbrellas are win.
While this may seem blasphemous to the UVA-fanatics out there, I ask you to consider what graduation actually means. It is time for the graduates. What does this time mean to them? They are bittersweet, joyful, wistful, regretful, relieved and other emotions. Can the four years (or three for some) that they have spent here at this institution be summed up in a two hour ceremony, a diploma, and a handful of pictures? Are all the conversations, lunches, dates, practices, meetings, and promises that you have made be represented by your presence at graduation? I will be blunt. Whether you are there or not is irrelevant, but whether they are there is the world. Remember you are not the one graduating, but they are.
With this spirit in mind, being present at your friends' diploma ceremonies means a lot to them. The picture on the left is for the Commerce School diploma ceremony. While the speech given was absolute propaganda about giving back to the Commerce School and perpetual alumni status, the excitement on the faces of the graduates was palpable. Some were going to New York, some were going to Singapore, some were going to Boston, and some were returning as 5th years in MS Commerce. It was a period of transition for all of them and I wish them the best of luck!